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I’ve worked with many high-level entrepreneurial clients and they all have one thing in common:

Love eludes them.

Deep down, these entrepreneurs create a wildly successful business because they think that’s their ticket to unconditional love. Only to discover after they’ve “made it” that love doesn’t care about the value they brought to the world.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than having millions in the bank, but nobody to share it with.

Whether you’re a high-level entrepreneur now or have that “entrepreneurial itch,” this episode can help you attract a loving partner.

Listen to the episode now to unlock unconditional love in your life before it’s too late.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The “Comfort Zone” reason why it’s harder for entrepreneurs to find a loving relationship than anyone else (4:56)
  • The cold, hard truth about why billionaire business owners end up lonely (7:24)
  • Why most entrepreneurs are fear-driven and how this “taints” your dating life (11:09)
  • The “Entrepreneurial Curse” that haunts business owners and cripples their chances of finding unconditional love (12:57)
  • How entrepreneurs fall into the “value trap” that makes love elude them (16:58)
  • 4 childhood questions to ask yourself that explains your current love life in crystal clear detail (so you can fix it) (29:39)
  • How rebelling in your childhood tricks you into cheating on your partner when you get too intimate (and how to prevent this weird psychological “quirk” from destroying your relationship)  (39:09)

Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I've helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I'm therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.

For more about David Tian, go here:


Get access to all my current and future online coaching courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership program today at:


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: I’m David Tian, and welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast.

This episode kicks off a special series that's aimed at addressing a set of problems that used to not be so common in my client profile a decade ago, but, in the past few years, has become the majority of my clients and I'm making this special series for those who are a special type of achiever.

This is not just your average achiever who is already above average, but your average achiever who succeeds in conventional ways through excelling in school or something like that, but especially for those who might identify very closely with the term “entrepreneur”, and I mean that in the most broad sense. [01:03.5]

It's not just an entrepreneur in the sense of starting a business, but it's an entrepreneur in the sense of starting some new endeavor or project or program that gets really excited about creating, so this could be a creative. This could be not just through achievement, but through even a rebel type of energy. If it's in business, it's not just somebody who got a good degree from a school and then went on and did an MBA, though some of these entrepreneurs do have MBAs, but it's the drive.

The thing that drives them is the creation of this new entrepreneurial task, maybe a business, a project, something along those lines, and that is what really excites them. It's especially the case that they get excited about the early stages of the business, and then become bored when it reaches a certain stage, maybe an IPO or an exit, and this is a specific type of client that I see quite a lot. If you're out there and this sort of resonates with you, what I'm going to be sharing today, just realize that I work with a lot of people like this. [02:07.0]

Also, I’ll just put this out there for anybody who is working with me who fits this profile and resonates or identifies with that term “entrepreneur”. Very likely I'm not talking about you or I'm talking about a composite of many of you, because what will happen is, as I describe the problem and the solutions and so forth, it will resonate closely with you and you might even think I'm talking about you.

I'm not talking about any specific person or focusing on any specific individual here as I trace the contours and delineate the problem here in this episode, unless I name someone in particular and I'm not going to ever name the real user, the real name. You can rest assured that I'm not targeting you specifically, but it very likely will resonate with you because there's a lot in common among my clients who share this type of background. [03:03.5]

What these clients come to me for is an answer to their problems in their relationships or their love life, because they all have problems in their love lives. It might be older entrepreneurs who are on their third divorce and trying to figure out what has happened wrong, what has been wrong over the past decades, or it might be those who are in their thirties or forties who have actually never been able to sustain a long-term relationship and grow that loving passion over time.

The problems in their love lives are a symptom of deeper issues and the reason it's so important to address this as early as possible is not only that it kind of sucks to wait decades and then your third divorce to finally come to me and work on the solutions, but also because, even if you do figure out what the problem is and you take this therapeutic approach, if you don't follow through on it, if you don't go all the way with it, because it will get difficult, and it's going to be a different type of challenge from what you're used to. [04:16.4]

The tools that you used to overcome your previous challenges are not the tools and it won't feel the same as what it's like to address these internal psychological blockages and conflicts. What worked before isn't going to work here, so it'll be painful and the normal thing to do, whether you're an entrepreneur or any kind of adult, is to flee from this new experience, this new feeling of pain, this new pain that you don't have the resources for or maybe don't even have the understanding to process what's happening, so you just reject it and go back to your comfort zone.

Interestingly, the comfort zone of the entrepreneur is one that is rewarded by society, and by your peer group and by your community, very likely, and by pop culture, and you think that's the good place, that's the good thing, that's not a comfort zone, that's an achievement zone, and that's where value is created and you get this reward. [05:17.8]

So, it's actually harder for entrepreneurial achievers to succeed in their love lives than for the average achiever or even for the average person, and it's also harder for the entrepreneurial achiever to succeed. It is psychological growth beyond a certain point, beyond the achievement point when you're marking progress, not just about how much money you've made or how big your company is, or how successful your project is or product is, but now measuring success in terms of how happy you are or how much love is in your life, or how joy is in your life or how much peace or calm you experience on a regular basis, or how much you're able to regulate your own emotions. [06:06.4]

When you start to measure success on those metrics, it's a completely different feeling and when it comes to progress, making progress there, and it's a different set of standards. What you might think of as your achievement zone is, now when you're looking at improving psychologically, you're seeing that now—hopefully, you will see—that that achievement zone is really just your comfort zone, and it keeps you in this box and it keeps you trapped like a rat on a laboratory wheel, and unless you escape that, you will always be exhausted and tired and there will be no end to that. [06:48.4]

What you don't want is to get to the end of your life and only looking back on the decades of running that treadmill, of thinking, This treadmill, if I just keep at it, then I’ll get the pellets and the pellets will make me happy. The pellets are really what I want, and the pellets will lead to love, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and only at the end of your life, looking back on it and realizing they didn't lead there. This achievement, this significance-driven work did not lead there.

So many of my clients are experiencing that at whatever age they're at because they only will come to me when the big projects are done. I'm not a career coach or a business coach. I don't market myself that way. I get the privilege of meeting entrepreneurs who have exited or IPO’ed, or I’ve come towards the Twilight of their project. [07:48.0]

Sometimes that means they're in their sixties, sometimes in their seventies, but sometimes in their late-thirties and forties, where they're just super successful in terms of the worldly material goals and they've exited for billions of dollars, and they’ve expected that when they reach those goals, they ought to be rewarded with love, with a woman or a relationship or a marriage of loyalty and integrity and passion, and that's not there.

Then they expect to feel peace and calm, and feel enough and significant and worthy, and yet they don't feel any different from the way they did before they reached those goals. Now they're disillusioned because they're seeing it in their love lives, and what you don't want is to get to the end of your life and only then realize that you've been living your life largely without unconditional love, basically the only kind of real love, and then looking for it. [08:53.1]

Let's contrast that entrepreneurial achiever’s life with the life of the average person, average in all and every sense. He got Bs all the way through school, went to an average post-secondary school and got an average job. Then, in his thirties, forties, fifties, realized the same things that I'm putting out here and have been in many of my other episodes, podcasts and videos on YouTube and all over the content I make that you can't earn love.

He's tried, but because he has only been a B student, it didn't take him that long to realize he couldn't earn it. He still wants it because that's what is built into us and our DNA. It’s part of the deepest meaning of our lives to experience emotions and we're not just robots. What makes life worth living are the emotions, right? Even the achievements that we lie to ourselves thinking, This is what makes life meaningful, achieving things. No, and maybe you only get that or realize that wisdom after you've achieved the thing and realize it's a lie. [10:07.8]

I've had the benefit of working with entrepreneurs who in the material senses are far more successful than I am and have any ambition to be, and partly the unfortunate thing is, in order to get to that point, they've had to slave drive their parts, their vulnerability, and drive so hard over their experience of life over their being present and being present with their loved ones or their girlfriend maybe or their friends, and having had to sacrifice so much in their personal lives in order to achieve this professional goal that they, in the back of their minds, have bought into the lie that if they achieve their professional goals, then they’ll be enough, and if they're enough, then they’ll be loved, and then finally they can rest. [They're] realizing, hopefully, as the ones I’ve worked with have, that it's easier to help them realize that that's a lie, that that doesn't work. [11:07.2]

But there are so many who are in the midst of their entrepreneurial journeys who are so afraid that they're fear-driven. The entrepreneur is fear-driven. They're so afraid of not succeeding, because if they don't succeed, then they won't be enough, and if they're not enough, they won't get love.

They're driven by this fear and they don't have the courage or the confidence to stop and question, because they're so driven by the fear to question whether this is actually going to work to get them what they want, in fact, even stop and question what is it that they're really after, treating themselves instead like robots, that “if I can just achieve more” and not even asking beyond that, so what's the point about all this achievement? Why me? Why can't it be somebody else who creates this life-changing contribution to mankind? Why does it have to be I who does it? Why do I have to sacrifice my own personal experience of life in order for this to be brought about? [12:05.7]

So many of the ones who are caught up in that literal laboratory rat race pause to ask that question until they're so exhausted that they can't keep running or, more commonly for the ones that I interact with or work with, it’s that they've come to the end of the rat race and there's not much else to run for or they thought, Finally, I’ve come to the finish line, and they blast through the finish line and they don't feel much different, and they might even usually will feel even worse.

It might not even sink into them until a month or a few months after, depending on how big that win was and how many years of their lives they’ve sacrifice to get there—versus the average dude who chugged along and, in his early-thirties or mid- to late-thirties, it was easier for him to come to terms with the fact that he's not going to earn that significance and he's not going to be Elon Musk or he's not going to be in the history books. [13:06.2]

It's easier for him not to get caught up in that illusion, and, therefore, it's actually easier for him to turn inwards and do all the psychological work because it's easier for him to be humbler about that, because he's under no illusions of his great legacy.

So, there's actually a curse to being incredibly gifted, not just in the conventional sense because the conventional sense—and I’ve used that word a few times, “conventional success”—would be getting the As all the way through school, going to a conventionally-good school, Harvard, MIT or something along those lines, and then getting into a conventional career, going to McKinsey or Goldman Sachs or something like that, that's a very well-worked-out career path, and then checking all the boxes, getting your MBA, and that is a very well-worn path. [13:54.7]

That is a different type of achiever than the ones I'm referring to here and focusing on, because there's a lot less of a risk profile and then less of a need to be incredibly exceptional, because now it seems like if you take the conventional route, you're content with being in the As. You don't need to be the best in history or the best in your country or outsize gain. You're okay with amassing a net worth of a million or 10 million, versus those who are aiming for that billion-dollar personal net worth or beyond or creating a billion-dollar company from scratch.

I think, just by saying that, I might alienate a whole bunch of people, but I do realize that there are a lot of people who aspire to that, that if they wish they could do that and that that's what they're really working after, even though they know that it's very much an uphill battle. But they're in their twenties and very optimistic, so this will also speak to them if that's the thing that you think will finally make you happy. [15:00.0]

There's also a misconception about the happiness and love lives of those who have the billions that I’ve discovered among those who are not entrepreneurial achievers, but who idolize them, and so this will also do double duty for addressing those misconceptions.

But I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with entrepreneurial achievers who are far beyond the 1%, maybe 0.01% or 0.001% of success, and it's really tragic because they've sacrificed so much to get there, and yet, at the end of that or on the other side of that, they discover their lives are without love and they're in despair. Many of them wake up in sweats in the middle of the night in despair or anxiety because they're now reliving that fear that they’ve work so hard to stave off, and part of that fear is that they're not loved even after all they've done and they don't know any other way to get it. [16:03.8]

It's an interesting kind, a unique kind or a special kind of pain, but also when I'm making these episodes, probably because I know it's one that many people valorize, so they think of it as a quality problem, “I want this problem,” so I'm going to address this right away because a lot of people share the same worldviews that lead to the same problems, even though they may be very early in the process.

I’ve worked with so many people late in the process or after they've achieved their goals that they thought would finally fulfill them, that means that they are enough for love, and find that that is empty and not coming. Then, in fact, the very pursuit of it or the pursuit of love in the way that the worldview forces them into guarantees that they will not experience the very thing that they desperately are after. [16:57.8]

Okay, so the first myth that I'm going to bust—and it’s the only myth that I'm going to bless in this episode—is the “value love” myth.

The “value love” myth. It's a great way to put it because we think of value, the value meal, and this is sort of value love and I guess it's a play on words there, but it is the connection of value to love or love to value. That is that you are loved based on the value you bring.

Another way of cashing this out is performance-based self-worth or possession-based self-worth, or attribute-based self-worth, all of which are toxic, all of which the entrepreneurial achiever has somehow bought into, either the performance, possession or attributes or all of those, because they think of it in terms of the value they bring to the woman or to the world, or to the company or to the industry, and on the basis of that value that they represent or bring, they should be loved. [18:05.8]

When things are going really well, the world loves them because they’ve brought all this value, and you can see this through an entertainment sphere as well. Like I said, it's not just entrepreneurs and business. I work with entrepreneurs in many different areas and you can take that same entrepreneurial kind of originals, creative spirit to the arts, and some entrepreneurs have multiple business interests, some in finance, in law, as well as in arts, because it's the same energy and it still comes down to your performance. In the arts, it’s your literal performance as an entertainer.

But it can also be just in terms of how well you did, so you did well on the test or because maybe you created or invented a new thing that brought, quote-unquote, “value” to people, which is really subjective and relative. If they value it, then you've brought value to them, right? It's already that you're pegging your self-worth already to other people's opinion, so it's also other-based self-esteem or other-based self-worth, all of which is toxic. [19:14.6]

As soon as you buy into that myth of the “value love” myth, you end up getting value love. You end up getting the economy love. You end up getting not real love, because it's conditional or it's transactional. The really sucky part of being an entrepreneurial achiever is very likely you've taken on a gargantuan task for yourself that may have no end, because if you are early in the process, if you're in your twenties or early-thirties on the entrepreneurial path, you probably have a lot of businesses in you.

You probably will mistakenly think that because that first exit or that first business didn't do it for you well, you're going to need two or three more, and you'll just throw yourself back in that, hoping to get that high that always eludes you, but instead settling for the value love, the pseudo love that you get at the end of it. [20:16.5]

That’s never really satiating you and it might only meet you when you're humbled by the universe and by life in your sixties or seventies, and even then, how difficult it is to let go of that toxic worldview because there's no other way that you have learned to conceive of yourself and your place in this world, and others and their place in this world.

There's a constant conflict, because, very likely, you are highly intelligent and you've already been in arguments or debates and thought about intellectually. There are maybe some moral philosophy conundrums about the moral worth of those who don't bring societal value, maybe those with an intellectual disability, and you know that they must have equal self-worth, they must have equal value as human beings because of their lives. [21:06.5]

But there is this conflict in you because that's not actually what you believe. That's not how you live your life. That's not the value system you've adopted, unconsciously, probably, so there's inside this internal conflict and you're evaluating yourself with a different set of standards than you would on the outside explicitly, consciously.

This actually makes it harder to get at what's underneath the surface that's causing the internal conflicts, that's preventing you from experiencing true love in your life. It's preventing you from developing healthy self-worth and to see others in healthy ways, rather than from a value lens.

What I'm proposing here, and as I'm saying it I’m also very aware that, very likely, the intellectual path will not do it all the way. It won't be enough. But, hopefully, it will be enough to just get the foot in the door to get you to question that maybe there is something to the therapeutic process and maybe get the process started for you. [22:17.0]

Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you'll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.

Get access to all my current and future online courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership today at DavidTianPHD.com\Platinum.

Okay, so this is the “value love” myth and the problem with performance-based, possession-based, attribute-based, other-based self-worth versus healthy self-worth. [23:09.5]

In this episode, I’m already getting you started moving towards healthy self-worth, so that you can discover true love in your life and not wait until the end of your life to realize that the whole way that you're going about life has prevented love from actually entering your life, prevented you from experiencing real love for yourself and others.

I'm going to share three quick points here to get started on this process for you and the first is about childhood dynamics. I'm going to go pretty quickly through these four questions that are part of Point 1 and childhood dynamics because I’ve actually covered these in a previous episode. I'll just do them quickly here.

I actually go into more depth on these four questions in my courses, “Rock Solid Relationships” and in “Lifestyle Mastery”. If that's something you're interested in and want to go deeper, you can get those courses, and I go deeper over many hours of exploration of these questions and this topic. [24:14.0]

To help you explore your childhood dynamics that you end up recreating with the intimate relationships in your life—that actually block and stop love from happening, or from taking root and being permanent or lasting, so you only experience the early stages, the honeymoon butterflies-in-the-stomach fleeting experience of, quote-unquote, “love”, not real love, but the beginnings of it, the passion part of it—and it's the childhood dynamics that are being recreated unconsciously by those parts of you that are still stuck back there that are getting in the way of actually experiencing real love.

The first question is—and you’re going to answer all of these and you can do them right now actually along with me here as I ask them—your first gut reaction to this question. Just the first gut reaction. Don't think too hard about it. Don't let the intellectual parts go in and cause all kinds of other problems with it. Just your first gut reaction. [25:12.2]

Okay, the first question is, and your first gut reaction to it, whose love did you crave the most growing up, your mother or your father? Maybe it was someone else who raised you. Whose love did you crave the most growing up, your mother or your father?

For a lot of my male entrepreneurial clients, they have a very complex relationship with their mothers. This almost sounds cliché, right? But it has been proven out in my life and all my clients, especially the entrepreneurial ones. There's a kind of love-hate relationship with Mom. Generally, that question is Mom. The answer is Mom. But sometimes it's Dad, and often Dad could be in extremes. [25:55.1]

Dad is either the cuddly, lovable kind of teddy bear guy who got bullied by the very demanding, strict achiever-driven mother, or it's reversed and it's the dad who is a strict military-style drill sergeant at home who didn't allow any vulnerability or even really any emotions and treated himself and his offspring like his spawn, like little soldiers, and then the mother sot of being in the victim position of the codependent position.

It's one or the other. From many of my entrepreneurial male clients, it's the mother that they have a very complex relationship with who would be the answer to whose love did they crave the most growing up.

The second question is who did you have to be for that person? Whether it's your mother or your father, who did you have to be? Again, your first gut reaction. What qualities did you have to embody or express in order to get and keep their acceptance, their approval, their connection? Who did you have to be? Okay, so this will be a slightly longer answer. [27:04.2]

Then the third question is, who could you not be? You might start off by just saying the antonyms, the opposites of who you had to be, but maybe there's more to it. Who could you not be? I can tell you for my entrepreneurial clients who they had to be in response to either keeping or getting that parent or parent figure’s love, connection or approval, they had to be achievers. They had to be significant. They had to be hard-working. They always had to be hustling—or if they are, in relation to the person whose love they wanted the most, in a rebellious relation of pushing away or instead of a “towards” relationship an “against” relationship with that person because they rejected that person as a protective mechanism. [27:53.7]

But it would take quite a lot of self-awareness to realize all of that rebellious energy is there because, underneath it all, that's how much you desperately want that parent figure’s love, but you can't get it—so, screw you, Mom. Screw you, Dad. I'm not going to show my pain or hurt to you because you don't appreciate it anyway, so I'm going to really piss you off by doing the opposite of what you want.

Then their answers for who they had to be and who they could not be are going to be flipped, but it's still all in response to getting, or not getting, in this case, the love of that parent figure that they needed and craved it the most from. Who would you be here? Who would you have to be? Who would you not be?

The straight up pleaser-achiever is going to be someone who is hardworking, who needs to achieve and needs to be significant, special, worthy, especially if Dad or Mom was already very much a high achiever. If they’ve already created a great fortune or achieved at a very high level, you will be necessarily, as a child, defining yourself against that. Who did you have to be to get and keep that connection and love and approval? Who would you not be? [29:08.3]

Then the fourth question off the “Who could you not be?” is, what could you not be? What were the negative consequences of being that way? Did you have a sibling who took the opposite route from you? Maybe you were the pleaser and you had a sibling who was a rebel. What were the consequences that were meted out against your sibling, for instance, or how did you learn about those consequences? What kind of punishments were you given when you were the way you could not be?

The answers to those four questions of “Whose love did you crave the most growing up?” “Who did you have to be?” “Who could you not be?” and “What were the negative consequences of being how you could not be?” If you are a deep thinker, and as an entrepreneur, I know if you stay with that long enough, you will see the connections to your current love life or your love problems. [30:02.4]

Maybe you won't. Maybe psychoanalysis is new to you or maybe you're early in the entrepreneurial journey, and the fear and the parts of you that are afraid of not succeeding that believed the lie of the “value love” myth are already rejecting this and they're already throwing up a blank wall here that's stopping you from hearing these words or understanding them any further. But, hopefully, it is taking root. Maybe it's laying a seed in there.

That's the first point, childhood dynamics. You end up recreating them. Those are the four questions that you can start with to explore those on your own.

The second point is, who did you end up becoming as a result? I’ve already kind of previewed this or foreshadowed this. There are generally two options that will lead to an entrepreneurial life or an entrepreneurial profile or character style, and that would be the option of being the pleaser or of the rebel. [31:00.0]

I’ve talked about this in terms of the achiever, that it's common for achievers to be a subset of the pleaser strategy and that there's also a minority of achievers who are rebels. In the entrepreneurial category, there are a lot more rebels who have ended up becoming entrepreneurs.

Just notice that one of those two options were the ones that were available that would lead to becoming an entrepreneur who is striving in order to achieve value, to create value, so that you can be enough and ultimately enough to be loved.

Then, of course, when that love is not forthcoming either in your intimate relationship or not coming the way you want it, or that feeling of significance isn't there yet despite all the hard work you put into it, then what happens is that that's inevitable. Whether you choose pleaser or rebel to get it, that's inevitable, and the question is, are you tired? How tired are you? [32:06.8]

Whether you're relying on being the pleaser or the rebel in order to get that love that you crave or to create the value in the industry, in the world, in society, or even in your personal life, to create that value in order to be enough, in order to be enough for love—so that you can finally get love, that unconditional love that you crave unconsciously, or maybe if you have enough self-awareness consciously—that strategy to get it is exhausting and it doesn't work.

That's why I can predict you will be tired, especially the more successful you are, and the big question you can ask, any achiever, especially an entrepreneurial achiever, that will help them do a U-turn and come back to source and ask these questions about life in a new way: “When will it be enough?” [33:02.8]

When will it be enough?

Are you tired or are you ready to rest and yet you feel like you can't rest?

Are you still afraid that it's not enough, that you are not enough, that you haven't done enough, but you're exhausted?

If this describes you, then this episode and the next one, and probably the next one after that, are going to be exactly what you need to study, and hopefully you can turn into this process that I'm describing. Okay, so that's the second point. Who did you have to become?

Then the third point is, as a result of just beginning to explore your childhood dynamics from the first point and noticing the fallout in the second point who you had to become, do you notice now, for the third point, how much you had to take care of your parents’ emotions? [34:00.0]

There's a term for this. It's called the parentified child that you had to parent your parent, and that is in the sense of either if you're the pleaser or the rebel. For many of my clients, the entrepreneurial clients, they had to save or take care of, or caretake is probably the best term for it, often their mother's emotions. She was the more vulnerable. She presented as the more vulnerable, but actually was more predatory.

Again, all as always, we're not blaming yet, unless it helps you. We're not blaming the parent for this because they had their own shit. They were coming out of their own childhood dynamics with their parents and they were just passing down what they learned from their parents, and likewise with your grandparents. They were doing the same thing from what they learned from their great-grandparents and so on, all the way up the generational line. In IFS therapy, there's this thing called legacy burdens, and if you go far enough in your process, you'll discover some of these for yourself. [35:02.0]

Being a parental child, you definitely have burdens that aren't all your own, but that were handed down to you by your parents or your grandparents, or your aunts or uncles, or whoever was watching over you and gave you these burdens and maybe it was multiple ones and you ended up as a parentified child who had to take care of your parents’ emotional. You had to caretake your parents' emotions.

The parentified child is a child whose boundaries were violated, in the sense of a boundary emotionally and psychologically is one where the parent takes care of his or her own emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and doesn't require anyone else to do that, especially a dependent. [35:47.2]

When you, as the dependent, are put in the role of caretaking the person who is supposed to take care of you because you're the dependent—and when you're born into the world, you are literally dependent, so there's nothing wrong with being dependent. Especially if you are still growing, this is the responsibility of your parents—and when your parents demand of you to take care of them, to caretake them when you are a child, they have crossed and violated your boundaries. Now they're not taking care of their own emotions and thoughts and behaviors. They're requiring you to do that for them or taking on some of that burden for them.

What happens is that you end up recreating this dynamic because this is what you’ve unconsciously sucked into your brain through osmosis or it was programmed into you as a child and you just ended up taking this in unconsciously, and now it's in your unconscious.

Until now, I'm trying to give you the pill like in The Matrix and you're starting to see things, starting to undo things, hopefully, putting that seed in there, and maybe you're starting to see how you end up recreating this childhood dynamic in your intimate relationships. [37:00.5]

Okay, just real quick there because we're already over time here, the first point, the childhood dynamics and those four super-powerful questions.

The second point being, who did you have to be? Who did you end up becoming based on who you had to be and could not be, a pleaser or a rebel? Then, what is it like for you now, pursuing that strategy in life as a pleaser or as a rebel, to create that value so you can finally be enough, so you can finally get the love that you crave? When is it enough?

Then the third point is the caretaking of your parents' emotions, and a big part of the therapeutic process is setting those boundaries and healing from the boundary violations in the past, because, as children, we take these patterns in unconsciously. They end up getting implanted pretty deeply in our psyches, in our minds, and we just end up unconsciously recreating that. [38:01.1]

This is something that I’ve experienced over and over as a pleaser. I’ve done a lot of episodes and content on the nice-guy syndrome, the pleaser trap, and so forth. Here I want to actually give an example of a client profile and I’ve had multiple clients who have chosen the rebel strategy. These are generally more risk-taking entrepreneurs, even more than the average entrepreneur who is very comfortable with or has an extreme risk profile, or more comfortable with it and has a higher or bigger threshold of risk, more comfortable with risk. I’ll give you an example of James.

James is a guy in his late twenties who, when he came to me, had a really tumultuous relationship with his mother, who he was still close to, in the sense that they were meeting in person multiple times a week, but he had a lot of child or inner-child parts that hated her because she was so controlling. She controlled every aspect of him growing up, the clothes he wore, just even the way he did his hair, the kind of colors he was allowed to wear, the activities that he did and the kind of pressure she put on him. [39:07.0]

He ended up rebelling from a very early age. By kindergarten, he was already telling her off and pushing back against that. He ended up, in every intimate relationship that he was in, getting to a point where the intimacy was too close and then blowing it up either by cheating on her, the girlfriend, or just partying it all away, giving it up into some kind of rebellion that would hurt her really badly, the girlfriend, and then making it impossible for that girlfriend to keep him, to stay with him, so he kind of forced her hand. Over and over this would happen. [39:48.7]

It was only after a decade of this pattern going on and actually getting outsized success professionally in the company that he started that he was able to have the “luxury”, quote-unquote, of introspection and discovered that the very thing that drove him to this success was also the thing that was blowing up his personal life, and that there is actually a middle way that he could get all of that professional success—and even better because now the success is not driven by a haunted tortured energy of “Fuck you, Mom” energy, but instead is one where he's pursuing something he really loves and enjoys.

This is easy, by the way, to illustrate because all achievers have at some point loved some activity, whether it's playing guitar or playing some sport or something like that, and they got really good at that just because they loved it so much. It was like this activity wasn't work. It was play.

At the beginning, for many entrepreneurs, that's what it feels like, and then it gets to a certain point where it was play for the first hour each day, but then, now they're forced to do it because it's now they're living, so now they've got to do it, whatever, eight hours a day. That first hour is fun, but then for the next seven hours, it's kind of a drag. Then they have to do that for months and years on end and now they don't love the thing that they used to love anymore. [41:10.0]

But they used to love it. That's an important point, that there is a way to excel in it and love it and find flow in it. Maybe that's not going to be salvageable for this activity that maybe you're stuck in, this job or industry or this company you've created, and you need to just finish that. Then in the next chapter of your life, you'll discover that there is this joyful type of excellence and activity that doesn't feel like work and that you don't need to make that mistake of relying on that toxic achiever energy to do it.

A big part of the rebel energy is toxic because it's got that rebellion in it, that anger that's driving it, and you can let go of that and still achieve. That's a promise that I'm just going to keep seeding for our entrepreneurial people out there who are listening that you don't have to completely accept it right now. [42:08.7]

I know that that might trigger some of you and you might just say, No, I don't even want to listen to this because then I might not succeed in my goals, and if I don't succeed in this far-off goal of exiting or IPO-ing or something along those lines, then I will not have enough value to be significant. If I'm not that significant or if I’m not significant enough, if I can't leave this great legacy and be in the history books, then I won't be enough for love. So, I'm not even going to countenance the possibility that I could find unconditional love without having to create some great product or legacy or solution to solve some big thing—so, just laying that seed in there. [42:51.3]

Working with James over time, helping him to work with his inner child parts, and then helping each of these inner-child parts to let go of the bitterness, anger and resentment they’d held against mother, helped him to let go of that fear that he was in the grips of that got retriggered every time he got really close to a woman as an adult, and over time, helping them heal and unburden, and then helping James get into a loving relationship.

That with coaching, because a real true loving relationship is one where the woman is also vulnerable and also has her stuff going on, and they will trigger each other, and each time they trigger each other, it's a great opportunity. It is the best opportunity to discover those parts of yourself that need attention and to, quote-unquote, “work on yourself” and grow from it—so coaching him through that process, which is an ongoing process, but it's one where before he wasn't able to get anywhere close to that level of intimacy without blowing it up because then it reminded him, unconsciously reminded him of how much he wanted Mom's love, but couldn't get it, so “Fuck you, Mom,” and then he blew that up every time over and over. [44:10.4]

That rebel energy, that anger and resentment, was what he was feeding off to create these businesses that brought him these millions, but it wasn't enjoyable in the long run. It was actually really toxic and led to really toxic lifestyle habits that were not healthy.

As he's becoming healthy in many ways, psychologically, physically, emotionally, his whole life has changed and he's able to find peace and calm, and joy and happiness, and love, and he's still in this process.

If you want that, as an entrepreneur, then you're going to have to have a different approach to these issues. It's not just plowing forward. It's not just seeing an obstacle and breaking through it with more hard work, more late nights at the office, sacrificing more and more of your personal life and what brings you joy for some faraway goal, striving for significance to finally be somebody. [45:18.8]

That will not bring you love, and it will not bring you joy or happiness or fulfillment, or any of those emotions that you're actually after, not even significance. It might lead you to feel worthy for an hour, a day, a week, maybe if it's a really big one, a month, but eventually you'll have to sit with yourself again and you won't have changed very much, not inside and that's what you're really after.

Okay, if this resonates with you, you want to come back to the next episode, because in the next episode, I’ll be getting into what to do about this. How do we do it? [45:57.6]

Okay, and the fact that you're still listening to this to the end, I applaud you because, from my experience, entrepreneurial achievers are extreme achievers, and along with that extreme achievement is extreme fear and there's a lot of fear about losing your edge, the thing that drove you—that anger or that willingness to sacrifice anything, even sacrifice other people to get this goal.

If you are self-aware enough, you can see that it's really to get those emotions that you want or that you're hoping to experience as a result of getting that goal, and that you can get all of those emotions that you're after without having to torture yourself for decades on end and sacrificing your personal life, happiness and love. There is another way and I’ll be getting into that more in the next episode.

Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode. By the way, if you like this, please share it with anyone you think would benefit from it, and give us a rating on Apple Podcasts. That always helps. I'd love to hear any feedback you have about this episode.

I’ll see you in the next episode. David Tian, signing out. [47:07.3]

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