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Identify Patterns in Relationships

Episode #14

In this episode, Doug shares a story of someone who came to him with a troubled relationship from which Doug was able to identify a clear pattern that was occurring not just in this man’s current relationship but also in previous ones. The man was giving everything in his relationship, but in turn, never felt like he was getting enough back.

At the heart of this troubled relationship was fear. The man feared losing his partner and being on his own, so gave he constantly tried to fill the cup of his partner, buying her gifts and doing everything to please her, subsequently, he was not giving enough love to himself so was always playing catch up.

Tim & Doug outline the utmost importance of finding the time to give love to yourself and not to depend on it from someone else. A negative relationship will always damage your business side of life, as well as the energy from all sides of your life, which is linked.

What you will discover in this episode:

How it always starts with YOU not someone else.

    • Understanding and avoiding a co-dependent relationship.
    • How to recognize relationship patterns.
    • How your negative impact other parts of your life like business and health.
    • How to break the patterns with the conversation.
    • Taking ownership and how to discuss patterns with your partner.
    • Actionable tips for identifying and shifting the patterns of relationship.


Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

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Episode Transcript

Tim Matthews  0:00  

The same patterns that are causing him to be codependent in the relationship will hold him back in business somehow. They will be holding him back in his health and wellness in some way. They will be detracting from the relationship with his son in some way. They just will, because every area of your life is touching.

Doug Holt  0:22  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. I am your host, Doug hole, with my co-host, Tim “The Powerful Man” Matthews, Tim, how’s it going, man?

Tim Matthews  0:32  

Fantastic. Mr. Doug Holt, how are you?

Doug Holt  0:35  

I’m doing well. I love hearing fantastic, and always good to hear from you, my friend.

Tim Matthews  0:41  

Yeah, likewise. So, Doug, I want to bring to the table today a topic called patterns in relationships. I know you’re a master of this with the work that you and Erin have done over the years on your marriage. And obviously, the job you’ve done will continue to do with the guys in The Activation Method and The Brotherhood. So patterns in relationships. I know we touched briefly on this before the show. So what do you think? What’s your experience of patterns in relationships?

Doug Holt  1:14  

Well, you know, there is no other place in our life that will get more triggered and bring more angst than any of our relationships, especially the area of intimate relationships. I have a lot of experience in this, especially with The Brotherhood, the group we used to call the inner circle, we’ve gone up with these guys and taken them through some advanced exercises. So let me tell you about a conversation, Tim, that I had with one of the guys not too long ago. I mapped this out. So here we have a man who’s been successful, he’s successful in business, never been married, has a child, but never been married. It’s been in and out of serious relationships, and it’s a very common theme with people in general. But when I started talking to him, I said, “Hey, look, let’s map this out. Walk me through it.” And as he was walking me through a story, I started repeating back to him. When we look at patterns, this happens in our lives. Many people are like, “I don’t have any patterns,” the girl that I dated before, or the woman I was married to, before, etc., are all different. But my guess is they followed a similar pattern—a similar pattern to be and what you were doing. I’ll take you through his particular pattern here, it’s going to take a little while because a lot of patterns, they’ve self-fed each other and created this machine, but I’ll take you through it. And then after that, Tim you and I can kind of break it down, that sounds good?

Tim Matthews  2:44  

Yeah, go for it.

Doug Holt  2:45  

Okay. So what he was doing was he would fall in love, fall madly in love, he needed a woman, dynamic, beautiful, could be the one. What he would do is, obviously, he loved her so much that he would want to do everything for her. So he went out of his way to, to cater to her, to fill her cup, right? This is what I always call filling your cup; you would pour into her, help her out, compliment her, and show up extra. She had a child as well and showed up to her kid’s events and really went out of his way to be there for and as he was doing this and filling her cup. He wasn’t taking care of himself; his cup was empty. So then he went to a pattern of a cycle if you can imagine this, and I have this drawn on my diagram right now. It’s actually just a notepad when I was talking to him. He’s filling the other person. When he’s filling in the person, he also needs to be filled. But since he’s spending all of his time with her, he needs her to fill his cup. So now what he’s doing is requiring his needs to be met by her. So now they are in kind of this co-dependent relationship. He’s filling her cup, then returns she is filling his now, then what he’s happening is when she doesn’t fill his cup. Let’s just say she gets sick, or this particular woman would go on retreats quite often. She was going on a retreat, and he wasn’t getting his cup full, and if he wasn’t getting his cup full, he was becoming empty. 

During that time, as periods of feeling empty and feeling alone, then he would go through a whole conversation of his head of not being enough. Now we’re going into another pattern here. So when he was not enough, what did he need? More love. So we’re not enough; we need reassurance that we are enough. So now he’s in this pattern of thinking he’s not enough, and he needs more love, and of course, which fills his cup is his woman. So he needs her more; he’s becoming needier, and while this is going on, he’s starting to get jealous. Jealous of men that she’s talking to, jealous of people on our Facebook page, too jealous of her past friend’s people she does yoga with, etc. This jealousy, this is where it gets weird. So we’ve identified two cycles here, the filling of the cup and name somebody, then going not into the not enough pattern, which is another cycle all itself. Which then filled feeds in back to the first pattern. Now there’s jealousy like a bridge to the third pattern. The third pattern is going through, he gets jealous, he gets away, he gets really jealous, and of course, when he’s not jealous, he starts to judge himself, “Oh, why am I that kind of guy. I’m successful. I’m good looking. I’m in great shape. and I do all these things. I shouldn’t be jealous. I trust her. She’s her own woman. She’s amazing.” When he’s getting jealous, and judging himself, he’s really saying, “I’m not enough, I’m not good enough. I’m not man enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not whatever”. Then when he’s not enough, of course, he’s going into a pattern of needing to be filled and reassured. So he would go back and seek the other person because he wasn’t filling his own cup. Then now he’s bridging the gap from the third pattern back to the first, needing her to fill his cup, thus becoming extremely needy. So we’ve identified three cycles just for this guy. And that’s where I had to stop it for him because it was just so obvious that his jaw was on the floor when I showed him this and he’s like, “Wow, Doug, why?” I was like, “Look, this happened before your previous relationship, what was that like? the same pattern?” He got all in, started really going all out. Giving her gifts, showing up to events, taking her places that she wanted to go. 

All the time, while he was working, he was really tired, and he wasn’t recharging his batteries in this other relationship he was in, but he was always giving to her and then requiring her to fill him up, but that wasn’t her love language. So she wouldn’t fill him up, and so he felt not enough again. Then he would start seeking her again, or seeking another woman’s love, then he gets jealous and goes through the same pattern. In fact, his previous relationship, and he not only got jealous, but he ended up cheating on this woman to fill his cup, which then he went back through the guilt, judgment, not enough, seeking another back to fill in the cup. So, Tim, this is so typical. Now, this happens in relationships all the time. Of course, it doesn’t always happen in this particular pattern. But in my experience, doing deep work with these guys, you know, really going deep, especially with couples we work on with them together, really what we’re seeing is not only the surface pattern, and there are usually two to three patterns below that surface that are really running the show. And if you can imagine this big gear on a machine where one year starts spinning, and that turns the other gear which turns the other gear, which allows this big giant machine to move. That’s what our patterns can be like in relationships. It’s really fascinating to uncover those.

Tim Matthews  7:56  

I was amazed that as you’re going through all of that, and one thing led to another. Few things came to mind for me as you were sharing that while there are so many nuances that this feeds into such as the pace of life that the guys live with being able to understand themselves emotionally and be okay with their emotions, what it means to be a man. There are so many different ways but bringing this back to and keeping this on track with patterns in relationships. It’s kind of when you’re on a plane, and they do the demonstration. The stewardesses do the demonstration about, if we’re going over water and as a crash landing, then your oxygen mask will come down, and they’ll make sure you put the mask on yourself first, before going to help anybody else. But when we’ve got these patterns in relationships, and we weren’t aware of them, it’s a codependent relationship, like you described. It’s almost like you’re trying to take something from somebody that, a, you’re either not able to give back because his cups are empty, or you’re trying to give something to somebody despite there not being anything to give. It’s crazy, crazy in the way it really blows my mind. When we get into top conversations like this about patterns and relationships, and how deep and intertwine. They actually go both individually as the man and a woman in the relationship and also collectively. Then while the kids are witnessing as well as nice as a son, what a boy is a son witnessing this pattern just continues and someone said something to me a few years ago that I thought I was really profound, and that is you know, what you don’t take on your pass on and things like that. Where will this end? 

Doug Holt  10:01  

So true, but it’s so true. I mean, we look at these patterns. Also, these are patterns of fear. These aren’t patterns of love; we’re in a loving relationship. But this man and I wish I could visually draw this out for the listeners right now. But I’m looking at this right now, and this is a total pattern of fear. He’s afraid, in all three of these cycles he’s in, he’s in a fear state. Now, he may feel crazy attraction and love, lust, and everything for this woman as he desires her so much that he’s giving her everything, but he’s giving everything because he’s afraid. It’s not from a place of genuine love, because he’s not standing in his power. We can talk about the obvious when we look at different energy flows, masculine and feminine, and all these other things that play into it. But when I look at this, I see pure fear, he’s afraid, and you’re totally right. Both of these in this example have kids that are watching this play out for him, his young son, and this is playing out time and time again. This is not the first relationship his son has seen this playthrough, play through his with his mom. It’s playing again; he’s seeing his father, basically, succumbing to the powers that he can’t control, or isn’t controlling and choosing to and doesn’t understand his roles. What are his roles for not being enough? What are his roles? What is it that the roles he serves in life for being a man or being a quality partner in a relationship? Rather than being scared and being driven by fear and fear of losing somebody, that’s why you have jealousy, right? You’re afraid that you’re not enough, and you might lose them. It’s not complete love, and when you come from a place of love, these patterns can dissipate. But you still have to recognize the patterns. Because if you don’t recognize them really clearly, they become your default. 

Hey, guys, I interrupted this show because I want to talk to you about a case study we put together; it’s only 11 minutes. And what we do is we go over and show you how almost 300 men have taken control of their life, already have 4X business revenue, and are having more connected intimate sex with their partner using The Activation Method and they’re doing all this without burning down their relationships. And without suffering and sacrificing for their health. We want you to have this too. So go over to https://www.thepowerfulman.com/bonus/, the number 11 one, one, and get this right now. It’s only 11 minutes, and it’s going to show you exactly how these men have done it. Alright, let’s get back to the episode.

Tim Matthews  12:47  

It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Because wherever we want to point, the magnifying glass, whether it’s relationships, or business or health, or any of the areas of money, whatever. It all starts with you and me, the individual. Yeah, we see it so many times in US businesses as an example, because it’s just easy. The guys go into business and build businesses and build successful businesses. But they do it by default and do it out of pain. We talk a lot about being pushed by pain or pulled by pleasure. And do it out of a desire to get out of the pain that is pushed by pain, whether it’s the feeling of being inadequate, whether it’s well quite honestly chosen and feeling inadequate. And as a result, to go and focus on the external and then they get their head down and work hard. They hustle the grind, push the fastest sacrifice, 10, 20,30 years go by they look up, and they think “Shit! Where the fuck am I?”, “Who am I?,” “Where am I” they’ve just left themselves at the start line. It’s the same in a relationship that goes into the relationship, seeking to get something out of it versus going into it, being able to give in a real co-creating relationship, one plus one equals 11. You say amazingly when you say that you get to focus on your cup mean it is full it overflows into other people’s rather than going into a relationship neglecting yourself, meaning that your cup is running dry, and you so desperate to get water or whatever from the other person to try and fill your cup because you don’t know how to give it to yourself. It’s interesting because you know a guy that recently joined The Activation Method, and he was in a relationship similar to this very co-dependent. 

He’s tried to end the relationship multiple times over the past few months. Every time he’s gone to end it, and he’s ended up talking himself back into it. So he’s gone to the lady and said, “Hey, look, this isn’t working for me.” She’s like, “Hey, you know what? You’re right, I think we should finish it”. And he’s like, “Whoa, what do you mean? Why don’t you make an effort?” And why do you do this and why and why and why and why there’s a result by the end of the conversation. Although he’s the one going into the conversation to end it by the end of the conversation, he’s the one persuading her to stay. As a result, when you came into The Activation Method and explained what was going on, patterns in relationships, it was very clear that he was trying to get something from her. They didn’t know how to give himself; he was co-dependent. He ended the relationship, then a few days later, he reached out to me again and said, “Hey, Tim, I got some bad news. I’ve got back with her.” And I’m like, “No,” I literally said no, “You were not in a position to be in a relationship right now, you just not. It’s not good. It’s not healthy for you or her; it is co-dependent. Now’s the time for you to focus on yourself and then over the next eight to 10 weeks as we do this, if at the end of that you want to go back to and have a conversation with her and it aligns, and it works. And that’s different.” That’s where one plus one equals 11. That’s where your cup is overflowing into somebody else’s; you are dependent on her to give you something that you don’t know how to give yourself. Whether it’s a codependence on a relationship or on money on how big you look. or on cars or whatever. It’s codependency regardless, and a lot of people, in my experience, I was there too, it’s not like I’m any kind of saint. 

I can speak so passionately about this because I’ve been through it. So it’s so key for you, in a relationship, to be able to have that time and space to focus on yourself. What we often see is, once the men focus on themselves, and really understand how to fill their own cup, and break the patterns that have been controlling them, and ultimately controlling the relationship, the partner in a relationship that has a choice, because sometimes in a codependent relationship, as the man takes the lead on changing this and breaking those patterns, obviously, things change. Because the relationship rules were formed under regulations or whatever. Under energy from before that wasn’t working and now that energy in those patterns has been broken and changed. You see yourself differently now to fill your cup. You see the relationship differently, and you want to create some new rules. That is where it can open up a whole host of different things. As you know, you and I have seen so many times the men have away, and sometimes people end up getting divorced. Because the relationship has been that co-dependent and then when one person can break the patterns that have been ruling the relationship, and the other one doesn’t want to. We’ve spoken about this on previous podcast episodes. Obviously, both people have a choice. But I know patterns and relationships are so huge. And I can say hand on how 100% the patterns that you described for this guy will be holding him back in business. Regardless of him having a successful business, the same patterns that are causing him to be codependent in the relationship will be holding him back in business in some way. They will be holding him back in his health and wellness and some are aware there will be detracting from their relationship with his son in some way. They’re just well because every area of your life is touching.

Doug Holt  18:59  

So true. I mean, this guy in particular, when he gets in this pattern, he’d be stuck. So his business would stagnate because he was stagnating. His friendships went away because he was so busy, he had no nothing to give. When I say, give, but no energy to give. It bleeds over into every area of your life. If you’re in your 20s, you’re hustling, and there’s no way you’re going to believe me until you experience this. But any man or woman listening to this, your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, you know this is true; it just bleeds over into all areas. And that’s why it’s so important to go through this and identify these as soon as possible. Obviously, at The Alpha Reset, we don’t go into this level of depth. But we go over a lot of these with these men, and they bring up the areas because as men and Tim, we don’t talk about this stuff, you’re going to get a pint, you’re going to get a beer or whatever with your buddies. This isn’t the type of conversation you typically have. If some guy brings up something like this, then you know he’s in a shift, and you know; otherwise, you don’t talk about it very rarely does it ever, ever, ever come up unless that person is going through a divorce or something along those lines. 

That’s why if you’re out there listening to these patterns and identifying these patterns and a lot of times, you can’t see the forest from the tree, so get someone to help you identify what they are and how they’re serving you. Because they are serving you in some way, shape or form, even if you’re like, “Oh, crap, how can these serve me, they’re horrible patterns.” As Tim alluded to, but they all you’re getting something out of this, right, there’s something that you’re getting whether playing the victim card, you know, somehow makes you feel good, or giving of yourself so much is your previous viewpoint from Disney fairy tales. When you’re like six or seven of what a man should be like. Trust me; women aren’t looking for someone who is going to be needy and codependent for them; I can guarantee that for you. They’re looking for a strong man who can identify their power, their patterns, step into their power, and do the work necessary to better themselves and move forward. That’s what a true relationship is. It’s not a relationship on codependence; it’s a relationship where you’re supporting the other person filling your own cup first so that you can show up more powerfully each time to the relationship.

Tim Matthews  21:24  

Yeah, it is such a huge point. These patterns can be broken together, as well. As long as there’s a willingness on both sides, for the man and the woman, to a willingness and openness really, to be able to explore what the patterns are, and take ownership of them. Without judgment, without blame, without feeling like a victim, we take some really, I don’t want to say a high level of conversation, I wouldn’t say there is a high level of conversation. But it does take a high level of ownership and securities. Whether that’s coming to mind within yourself or within the partnership that you’re in, to be able to know that if you take ownership for a certain pattern or a certain way of behavior, then that other person is going to start layering on top of you lots of other things you’ve done wrong, and you could do better, in my opinion. It gets to be an opportunity for you guys to start on it together about the patterns and what’s going on, having an honest, open conversation, and then moving forward together. Because it really can be something that you guys move together on. Say you guys have people move together on, we’ve seen it. So how many times when the guys do the work through the work we do with them in The Activation Method. And they start to own up to a lot of their patterns and start to shift them and change them. But quite honestly, sometimes the wives or girlfriends don’t want to go there with them. I don’t fully know what gets said in the relationship. Obviously, I’m not a fly on the wall. I don’t know how those conversations are fully handled. But I know from my experience in my own relationships, even with Amelia, I mean, I could not have these kinds of conversations with my ex. I just couldn’t. It was one of the reasons why we grew apart, you either grow together or you grow apart. And I proposed we got a wedding, and we bought the house. It’s so many things, patterns that I wanted to make sure that I did all I could. But I just couldn’t have these conversations. She felt that she wouldn’t own up to what her patterns were. I don’t know if it’s because she didn’t see them. Although sometimes I tell them what they are. Well, because it was causing me so much pain, and I’m like, “Hey, listen, bitch, you doing this!”

Doug Holt  24:08  

How’d that go over?

Tim Matthews  24:10  

Yeah, it wasn’t like that. But I do it in conversation growing up on my own, but every time I go on my own, she wouldn’t want to go there on her own.  That went down, and the relationship wasn’t working. We’re on different wavelengths and are just growing apart. Whereas Amelia, for example, we’ve been together for quite a few years now. We’ve grown a lot as individuals, and collectively over the past few years she has now, there’s always room for more. But the one thing in my opinion that has been the catalyst it has been able to experience so many amazing things together and continually up a level together has been the ability that we have to have honest conversations about patterns and about how we feel and about what’s going on without either one of us feeling victimized or feeling judged. Because then it opens everything up to “Okay, well, what’s next?” And it is key to break the pattern to be able to have that kind of conversation. Doug, you’ve had many amazing conversations with Erin, and you guys have been through amazing growth together. So you know how it is?

Doug Holt  25:33  

Oh, absolutely, I mean, and guys listening to this and women too. But guys listening to this in particular, know that I’m speaking from an experience of already being in the valley. I’ve been through these patterns, and my patterns were probably ten times worse than this, guys. I was so deep in the shit in my relationship and my patterns, and I’m so holy and high on the horse. Man, it took me years and years and years of reading just about every book on the relationship on communication, taking every seminar, coaches, the whole nine. So, Tim, I don’t want anybody to think that I walked into this, being able to communicate, look at patterns, do pattern interrupts and do Byron Katie’s judge your neighbor, or any of that stuff just naturally, this took me a lot of work. I was your stereotypical alpha guy, athlete, business owner, or the community. I was not what you would call a deep level communicator in relationships by any level. If you’re listening to this, you’re like, “Well, shit, I’m not gonna do any of this, I’m just so far from that.” Trust me; it starts with the first step doing the work and taking care of yourself. When you’re filling your cup, you’re doing the work to improve yourself. That is not only the first step, but it’s the biggest step. And it’s the biggest barrier. Once you start doing that, all these pieces start to fall in order. It’s like working out; it gets really hard to get to the gym the first time. You’re sore, and you’re tired, you don’t know what to expect. But over time, you just start doing it. 

Then your body starts to fall into shape. And you start putting on muscle, when you put on muscle, you burn fat faster, and just everything becomes easier. Well, relationships are like that, but 10X, it becomes so much better, because you have the tools in your tool belt, and you actually have the optics or the visibility to see what’s going on. So I don’t want to paint this rosy picture that everything’s always been great in my areas of relationships; they certainly haven’t. But it’s something we’ve been working on. But I want to make everybody here aware of their patterns and recognizing it. The worst thing you can do guys is hiding from this, it’s okay to have these and these patterns come up and continually recognize Tim, and I coach each other still to this day, making sure each other are on point. Making sure you have someone at that, that really high caliber and high level to give you objects to see when things are coming up and kind of peel back a layer like an onion to allow you to be that man, you know you are.

Tim Matthews  28:08  

Yeah. So so true. So Doug, wrapping this up. How would you say wrapping yourself? I’m probably about to open up a can of worms here. But would you suggest a guy actually takes ownership of his patterns in a relationship? Let’s say you want to leave the guys right now with one useful tool that can take away from this? So let’s say the guy’s got a list of states to understand some of the points. But they know who they are, and they want to break them. How would you recommend that they go ahead and approach that partner with this new awareness so that it creates a conversation to shift these patterns then?

Doug Holt  28:55  

Couple things. One, I’m going to say go to an Alpha Reset, get your ass to an Alpha Reset. Now I know that sounds self-serving, but the truth is I would be holding this back. I would not be giving you my honest answer. If I wasn’t telling you that I think this is the best thing for you. Yes, it’s something I’m involved in, but I wouldn’t be involved in something I didn’t think was the best. So go to an Alpha Reset and get your shit together. That’s number one by far. The second thing that’s before you have this conversation, by the way. Second thing, if you’re ready to have this conversation with your partner, sit them down, and have the energy be good. And then take ownership of what your side of the street is. Do not do it, Tim 1.0 did not point out your partner’s bad habits, do not point out your partner’s shortcomings, do not point out their mistakes. Do not point out anything about them at all. Take 100% ownership of this. You know if this sounds weird, you know this is kind of a Jocko Willink, right? He’s got I might be pronouncing his name wrong, and I apologize. But he’s got Extreme Ownership, right? This is kind of like that in the area of relationships. But it’s really important what I call owning your side of the street. Don’t point across the street at your neighbor. And in this case, your partner, the trash on the lawn, or the grass cut.  Own your side of the street until you are perfect before you even look across there. So own your own stuff. And so an example would, I might have a quick conversation, Tim, I know we had to get ready for the next Alpha Reset here. 

But in a quick conversation, I might have, I was this guy that would turn my partner and go, “Geez, you know what?! I realized that I love you so much that I’ve been pouring myself into you. And as such, I’ve been emptying myself and requiring you to pour yourself back into me without even talking to you about it. I apologize for putting that burden on you and not taking care of myself in a way that’s constructive for us in the long term.” That’s just me, and I did it off the cuff. But I’m just taking ownership of what I’m doing. I’m not making myself wrong. I’m not making her wrong or anything. I’m just identifying the situation and what I’ve done in this situation, and what I’m going to do moving forward to rectify that problem.

Tim Matthews  31:11  

Ah, man, I love it. I love it. So, guys, Doug has shared with you some fantastic knowledge and tools as well. If any of you know, Doug, then you’ll know the amazing marriage that he and Erin are both committers. And they are also both creative. I mean, whenever I spend time with you guys. I really think, “Wow,  I’m gonna take that away. I’m gonna do this with Amelia, and I see you guys as parents” everything like it’s inspiring. I’m really grateful to be able to be in such proximity to you and your family and your marriage. So thank you for that. 

Doug Holt  31:53  

Thank you

Tim Matthews  31:54  

Of course. And like Doug said, guys if you feel in the call, I’d love to see you in The Alpha Reset. I would really love to support you through a process that has the potential to transform your life. It’s not my words; it’s all over the men that routinely go through it. So, guys, thank you for joining us today. I wish you an amazing day. And I wish you all the best.

Doug Holt  32:19  

See you next time, guys. Take care.