Codependency & Owning your Wounds

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Mark: Person hits him up at 1:00 AM. That’s a good sign that your a booty call. Yet, you hook up and the arousal and the sexual connection treats the pain of the abandonment and rejection. So, we end up in cycles and of course that is the best sex, right. Everyone is like, man, but we have the best sex. Of course you do.

You got like, a couple of wounds banging against each other. You know?

Mike: You’re listening to the Everyday Legends podcast. The show that is dedicated to helping everyday men build legendary relationships with yourself, your partner and your world. I’m your host, Mike Campbell. And the aim of this podcast is simple to help you navigate life with more clarity, more confidence and purpose-driven action with plenty of stories, a load of lessons, and some are loving, straight [00:01:00] talk.

So let’s get Ha.

Hello and welcome to another episode. I mean, it’s the second episode. So this might be the first one for you. Welcome to a episode, an episode of, the Everyday Legends podcast with me, your host, Mike Campbell. And, whew I’ll tell you what I am excited. Um, but I was actually very nervous. Ha. Sitting down with my guests for this podcast.

And I was nervous because this was legit the first guest episode that I did for this podcast. The first interview that I had done for it, I’ve done plenty of interviewing in the past. I do interview style conversations kind of all the time, but for this, I’m excited to be sharing this content with you guys.

[00:02:00] And with that comes some nerves. And am I going to get it right? Are they going to like it? Can I make it as good as it can be? What do I need to do? What do we need to say? And bringing in my first guest and my first interview, I kind of brought that home to me a little bit. So. Who was that person?

Well, it is Mr. Mark Groves, or as some people might know him from the internet, ‘Create the Love’. Mark is, an outrageously beautiful and legendary human being. He is an everyday legend. He’s a good friend of mine, and I feel very privileged and grateful to be able to call him, such a close friend. And he’s also a human connection specialist.

He is someone who I have learned so much from over the years. Uh, both as a human, but also in the world of being a coach, a [00:03:00] business owner, uh, in terms of a man with integrity and in the realm of relationships. I’ve been very fortunate to work with Mark and run some courses together and some retreats and, um, facilitate and coach with him and also learnt so much from his own content.

I love his style. He’s So real. He’s So down to earth. Yet, so god damn on point. Every time I consume of Mark’s content, I’m either learning something or am in awe of him as a creator and a presenter. And for me, he was a no-brainer. He has to be the first guest on my podcast. I suspect that he will probably feature many more times. Because what we today jam on is a few things.

Um, we touch on something that he once coined the ‘evolved man’. And it was actually the first piece of content that I ever came across from Mark and blossomed our relationship. And with that, we kind of explore into what that means as, [00:04:00] you know, he once coined it and an evolved man has only are essentially calling it the everyday legend, um, and what it means for us, showing up in relationships and then really exploring relationships.

We dive into the topic of codependency, kind of makes sense a little bit why it comes about how it comes about what we’re doing. When essentially we enter into a relationship and we either make someone else’s feelings my responsibility, or we make them responsible for our feelings. And so we kind of explore codependency, Mark’s, an expert on this stuff.

He’s got some amazing pieces of content and, um, courses. Things that you can explore if you want to explore that. And so we kind of come to some of the invitations that we can receive in relationship both to grow, to learn and to really face what quite inevitably will pop up in our relationships. And so there’s plenty of lessons in this.

Um, and there might also be some questions that pop up for you. There might be some things that are [00:05:00] challenging, perhaps a little bit confronting, um, for you. So if that’s the case, I invite you to explore those, to write down the questions that pop up for you. Because one of the key things, when it comes to this work, i.e. Working on figuring out who you are, who you want to become and how to become that, as an everyday legend, is inquiry is curiosity is taking off the hat of the guy who is hard on himself, who automatically goes into judgment mode of himself, beating himself up, being hard at himself, setting

overly unrealistic expectations and putting on the hat of the curious observer, the adventure who wants to explore and figure out. That’s the path that we get to take. It is not something that happens in an instant or overnight. It is a mode of being, and that is what we’re cultivating both on this episode and in this show.

And so that is my invitation to you. And with that said, I think I’ll leave it there and [00:06:00] introduce you to the one and only Mr. Mark Groves.

Mark Groves welcome to the Everyday Legends podcast, brother. You are officially my first guest.

Mark: Oh, my gosh, this is an honour. There’s not many virginities left in my world and probably yours.

So to be the first is a meaningful thing. Thank you.

Mike: Uh, an absolute pleasure and, um, no pressure. Um, so where I want to start as a simple one, because I know many of my audience right now will know some or a little about you or a lot. Um, but some won’t at all. So please indulge us. Tell us about. You and what you’re doing in the world.

Mark: Oh man, always such a question like, please inform me about, I’ll write my bio right here. Um, I love it.

Mike: Give us the having a conversation with Mike version, not the bio for your website version.

[00:07:00] Mark: Loves tacos. Uh, I love everything to do with connection with the human experience with, um, not just our connection to other people, although that is certainly a major focus of mine. Um, but our connection to ourselves, to the planet, to everything.

And, I’m so intrigued by what threatens that, what aids, that, what gets in the way of it and how do we learn the skills to be ultimately better at love? Um, because you know, that’s one of the most healing aspects or one of the most nurturing parts about being human is our biology is really rewarded by safety insecurity with other people.

By deep loving bonds by knowing we can trust people, knowing we can be ourselves, those types of things. So, I mean, that’s what I’ve spent, uh, unconsciously, a lot of my life researching and then consciously started to apply all [00:08:00] that instead of from a place of manipulation. When I was in sales. Now it’s more okay,

how do we use skills like this to actually, um, channel them from an authentic place which facilitates community and connection.

Mike: Beautiful. And so when you say, you know, initially there was perhaps, uh, a seeking of that from an unconscious place. And, and then you spoke about when you were working in sales, meaning you were kind of exploring those skills and learning how you could be a bit of salesperson or, and/or, um, as, uh, you know, I suppose the stage that you were at in your life as a, wherever you were in relationships, kind of unconsciously figuring these things out.

So you could, you know, be in relationships more effectively, whatever that looked like at the time. Not, not as consciously.

Mark: Yeah. I think as a young, as a young person, I was sincerely really, um, I would say that relationships sort of came easy to me then I really, I was sold the stories of Disney and [00:09:00] really, uh, saw it seriously.

Mike: Being the hero

Mark: You know, I thought. Maybe not the, yeah, probably the hero in some aspects, but also that, um, I was just really interested in learning how to be a great partner. And then I think I placed a lot of my value in that, which is a really thin line to codependency. And then after experiencing pain in relationship, really withdrawing from that openness and then wanting to unconsciously

learn the skills in order to prevent that outcome from happening again. And so, you know, that’s where insert, like reading. How to win friends and influence people. I had a book called how to get anyone to do anything. I mean, it was from a sales perspective to how do I change behaviour, but a lot of it was like, how do I get a woman to find me desirable or, um, to choose me.

And that, that also involved reading books, like the game or the system, you know, which all sorts of [00:10:00] artistry books. Yeah.

Mike: It also feels like, you know, there could be, and there may be a book out there. Um, with this title, I’m not sure, but like, how do I prevent the pain that I just experienced from happening again?

Mark: Right. That’d be a good book cause that’s right. Cause that’s ultimately what we do is the things that we do in conflict that don’t function well that like defensiveness criticism, withdrawing, those are all just ways of protecting ourselves from being hurt. Um, but they often just perpetuate and recreate the same hurt in the same situations.

And they also create a real upper limit in our ability to love. And I woke up to that truth, you know, at 35 or it was like, holy shit, I haven’t let anyone love me in so many years. And I didn’t even know I wasn’t doing that. Like, I didn’t know until someone pointed it out and then it hit me like a two by four.

Mike: So can you explore that a little bit for us? Because I, you know, I’ve heard you say that and, and explored it and experienced it, et cetera, but I’ve [00:11:00] also seen people struggle with that idea of what do you mean – not letting people love me? So how was that playing out for you?

Mark: Well, it’s so easy to love people in some sense, like it’s easy to give.

It’s easy to do nice things for other people. We get a lot of value from that, you know, that’s the sort of trick of altruism is that altruism is never really a free gift because you do get something from it. And that’s the we’re biologically designed to get.

Mike: Even if it’s just as healing or something

Mark: Right. And a sense of wellbeing, a sense of contribution, but that’s important even that’s the biological reward for altruism that creates altruist.

Um, and so it’s easy to get stuck in that, but to actually let someone love us, to actually allow someone to show up for us, allow someone to take care of us. That is a whole, that requires the belief that we’re worthy of that. And that’s usually where I see people struggle is they’re saying love is not working out, but they’re generally picking people

it won’t work out with or recreating situations that [00:12:00] create the same results. So that might show up as dating unavailable people, dating people who just aren’t a good match. Dating people who don’t have the same values, dating people who are addicts, all those types of things. Which is not to say that addicts don’t deserve love, but when we’re dating them and we’re trying to fix them and we’re trying to save them, that really can be a continued sort of like on the treadmill of trying to, um, save them in order to it’s part of the same cycle of trying to perform for love, trying to get love.

And it’s. I think when we can look, you know, I asked people to finish a couple of sentences that I think really bring to light what it is that we’re avoiding in love. And it’s to finish the sentence: ‘When I let people love me, they …’ and ‘When I love people they …’ So, formerly when I let people love me, um, my answer would have been, they betray me, they [00:13:00] lie to me.

Um, uh, and then when I love people, They are. When I, when I love people, I betray myself, abandoned myself, you know? And so there’s a lot of things that unconsciously build this upper limit. And then we start to, self-sabotage like, we might cheat, we might start lying. We might do other things too. And those are all just ways of preventing ourselves from going deeper into vulnerability, but staying in a cycle of hurt, you know, it’s a, yeah.

Mike: Staying in a cycle of like smaller kind of seemingly more manageable hurt to prevent a much larger hurt, which is, I think what I’m hearing here is like really letting someone in. How I do that as many ways, one of them might be, you know, I’m going to be the person who fixes you. So therefore, therefore we don’t have to either look at me or really enter into and open up into me.

Mark: Yeah, exactly, exactly where it’s like, I know I can manage this. That’s why I live in this sort of controlled environment.

Mike: Control this, this is manageable. I’m under [00:14:00] control here.

Mark: But I can’t get to the edge of my capacity because I’ve never sat in it myself. I’ve never explored it. And so what happens is, as the edge of my capacity becomes a thing I write about or dream about or watch movies about, but till we actually go there, we can’t actually resolve or learn the skills that we needed when the pain occurred, you know, that.

That thing that hurt us the most offers us the most insight into mastery in relationship. And so we’re so afraid of revisiting it because it’s like touching the stove, not realising that actually that’s how you cook the meal and that’s how you create a community. That’s how the relationship gets cooked in a good way.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, there’s an exposed nerve there. I don’t want to touch it. Yeah. But we’ve got to heal it. Um, Beautiful. And so then there was a, an awakening for you and, you know, maybe we can explore that, but what I’m also hearing, you know, you see a lot of it was, um, you know, I [00:15:00] wanted to be a better partner, but perhaps not from a place of, um, you know, where you are now, but more so I can avoid hurt,

and so I can perform and, and that kind of thing. And, um, where I want to take this now is how I first met you and, and, you know, came across, you was a piece of content that you wrote a few years ago and it was, um, titled I’m going to get the title exactly ‘Why you might not be ready for the evolved man and you say, you want’.

Essentially speaking to women or those in relationship with men. And I remember reading it and I was like, fuck. Yeah. Fuck. Yeah. What this guy is saying, but also how he’s saying it. And I knew instantly wasn’t just the content that I connected to it. It was, it was the author and it was, you know, the thing that made me find your details in some way, I don’t know what it was, email something and reach out to you.

And, you know, we started a conversation, um, and [00:16:00] here we are, right. A friendship blossomed, etc. But I was brought back to this because, you know, with terminologies – and for me with this podcast, you know, I’m talking about supporting men in becoming, you know, an everyday legend and speaking to those me, and I was resonating again with what you had described essentially,

and the evolved man. Um, with, you know, what I’m, what I’m talking about and supporting, um, men, and, in creating. And, and for me, it kind of sits into that. So I wanted to speak to that a little bit, this, you know, ‘evolved man’ cause it was, I think a piece that got a lot of, um, attention and attraction for you.

So again, your own transition from doing things, perhaps from a place of hurt or avoiding past pain coming again into that space. Can you talk us through kind of what the process was for you landing at that kind of ‘evolved man’. And then where are you at the time, I suppose, first of all, saw yourself in relation to that?

Mark: Yeah. You know, [00:17:00] I look back and I’m like, I would probably, I would definitely change the title of that. Cool. Now, because evolved is sort of has a contrived sort of righteous, uh, feeling to it now. Um, but at the time it was a part of the common vernacular used relationally. Uh, and I, I think it made me now, I would use say the, just the man you say you want, cause it,

it’s really about just becoming more integrated as a mailing, you know, which that could be about being a human. It doesn’t have to be about being a male. Yeah. But I found the, the real motivation of that article was that I kept hearing women say, there’s no men like this. There’s no, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I saw that whenever a good man really showed up in some of these people’s lives, uh, they would not know how to handle them because they weren’t in the driver’s seat emotionally anymore that the man was actually meeting them in the emotional drivers seat too. And you know, if we look historically speaking, [00:18:00] um, women have over functioned in the area of emotion from pure survival base, holding the community together, holding the family together.

That’s what was required of the species. And that made it so men didn’t have to function so much in that space. That’s like a woman reading a book as for the couple of women booking all the appointments.

And I’m speaking in a heteronormative sense. This could be in any gender combination. Uh, but just historically it’s more heteronormative and the drivers of it are more, um, from a heteronormative perspective. And then. You see that men in that same language of over functioning, under functioning men over functioned in the providing and going out and doing the things.

So now you see a change of that dynamic and there’s very much a common conversation. That’s about, uh, Uh, giving more opportunity to women and that’s of course, in a very important conversation, but there hasn’t really been a lot of broadening of the roles that men can take in [00:19:00] relationship that have become, there’s certainly a very slight conversation about it, but, uh, you still see that there’s often, um, a lack of value, seen in a mate who doesn’t make as much or more money than the female partner.

And you see this a lot in the conversation, in the comments sections and things like that. Well, you know, I did a Q&A video that was about ‘should a man pay on a first date?’ And ‘If he doesn’t is it a red flag’. Those were two separate videos and both of them blew up because that should actually be a very simple conversation to have.

And we should be able to say a man not paying on a first date, a man actually even inviting a woman to split it is actually could be a green flag cause he believes in equality and this woman’s ability to provide for herself. But that is again, that might be [00:20:00] triggering for someone to hear, but just think about it on a very objective lens.

Is there something we’re attaching to chivalry and a man’s value? And even we might say. I’m old fashioned that way. Okay. Why are you old fashioned that way? Where did you learn that?

Mike: Where else does it go?

Mark: Right? Because does it just end at the first date? It likely doesn’t. And so, as we, I think the invitation, because this is none of, this is a judgment, it’s an invitation to explore.

Why we are shut off from being open to certain types of people, just like we might as men and again, in a heteronormative space, be unable to hold the capacity and container for a woman who makes more than us. Right? It’s the same. Our worth is in our ability to provide. So if she’s providing, then where’s my worth while your worth doesn’t live in what you make.

And your worth as a male doesn’t live in your emotionality and your masculinity is not connected to your emotionality. But those are interesting conversations to have because they [00:21:00] require the disintegration of, uh, centuries, and I would say thousands of years of programming, that was species related for the evolution of the species, but it doesn’t seem to serve us now, but it does serve us depending on the culture you’re in, depending on, are you going to get rejected for making more money or, you know, like you see all these nuances that are really important, the grays to dancing.

Mike: Hmm. Yeah. And I think, you know, it, it can serve us to understand, you know, because in part there’s still an animal in each of us, right. Still pulling the strings on some level. If we don’t know how those strings of being pulled  unconsciously, then they will. Right. So if we can bring some awareness to that, I think, um, it can help us understand some of the more instinctual drivers that doesn’t mean they have to be driving the car, but we can start to go, Oh, this makes sense now.

Okay. You know, I want to provide, and I’ve been in a kind of single track earn more money. Therefore I have worth, therefore I am, you know, more [00:22:00] wanted. I have, you know, more, more importance. More recognition as a partner in my relationship, et cetera. And that one thing, but of course there’s many other ways that I can do that.

But if I realize it is an instinctual need and desire for me to provide, then I get to explore what is providing, what other ways can I do that? Is that also emotional safety, et cetera, et cetera. Right. So, you know, I think it’s very dangerous for us to dismiss that instinctual side of things. Um, whilst we explore

what objectively, and as you said, like before, uh, equality of, you know, a green light, him offering her the opportunity to pay half of the date, like how they can actually now shift. Right.

Mark: Well, it’s such an interesting to have that into explain express that possibility triggers people. Like it’s, it’s so fascinating to observe to me because it shows you how ingrained there the assigned values are placed outside of character traits, which is [00:23:00] really fascinating, you know, and, and even on a first date, to be able to say, how do you feel about me paying?

It’s not to say like, there’s not some, if you ask someone out on a date, then maybe you should pay, maybe that’s a good rule, you know, or, uh, especially if you ask them out to a nice restaurant, right? Like we’re not saying no rules apply or not that graciousness doesn’t apply. It’s just a really interesting conversation because then as you said, it leads to, okay, what else shapes me?

And I often think what about, you know, when you drive your car and you like get to a place and someone’s like, Oh, which way did you take? I don’t actually remember because you’re our ability to, we can operate a vehicle well and not actually be consciously operating the vehicle, which is kind of crazy to think about.

And it shows you how much data we can manage. And how much information is going on on an unconscious perspective. And these things are deciding how we argue, deciding what’s important to us deciding, and this is why marketing exists. [00:24:00] This is why, uh, PR exists. This is why the government’s PR systems exist is all of a sudden we’re like, yeah, I really do buy into that thing.

That makes no sense. Not medicine. I mean, we’re in the middle of many controversial subjects about that with COVID. You know, it’s like, nothing actually makes sense, but we’re all just doing stuff without asking questions. So, I mean, that’s a whole other can of worms, but yeah.

Mike: Yeah, it is. But, you know, I think.

Something that popped up for me there, is it, you know, as you said, like have rules, don’t have rules, I think, with anything, but that there’s such a great little lens perhaps to an area to explore it as you know, around dating and what are the rules and as an individual, regardless of what the thing is, I think you get to have rules for yourself.

But, we get to question and be clear on what is the intent and what is the driver behind that rule? You know, as you say, I’m a bit old fashioned that way, or I like to, you know, if I ask them on the date, I want to pay for the date – have that rule. What’s the driver, is it because therefore [00:25:00] she’ll think I’m worthy and I earn good money or is it because it’s just a respect based thing.

And when I ask someone on a date, I want to be the one that takes care of it. You know, like when, you know, with honesty, I think, and integrity, what is behind your, you know, little rules you have for yourself, depending on how flexible or rigid they are, there’s clarity. It’s where we can perhaps sit with ourselves and know I’m doing the thing that I believe is in integrity is, you know, with love and compassion.

Um, yeah, but of course it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be met with someone’s trigger. Right?

Mark: Exactly. And, and even that you can be dismissed by someone by splitting a bill where you could have done everything right until that moment. And so that’s where I want people to start to inquire. Where do they place what they value in a mate?

Cause in the research at the end of your life, what will matter is where they kind and where they generous not to say that you don’t want to hump him. Right? Like that’s of [00:26:00] course you want to hump your partner. Right. I get that moved to dismiss that, but it’s like also starting to recognize. What do you, do?

You actually find attractive the things that hurt you, the dynamics in relationships. So, you know, it’s like when someone says, but that’s just chemistry. I can’t decide who I have butterflies for, who I don’t. And that that’s there. If we know that what we call chemistry attracts us to people who aren’t good for us, then we know that there’s a drive in our chemistry

that is, um, Seeking something different than actually safety and love. And so that’s where we even need to start questioning our, our, uh, we would call like, ‘eroticising our pain’. Now we’re starting to make sexy the things that hurt us, which really is an invitation to heal those things. It’s an implementation to learn boundaries or to say no to unavailable people or dysfunction or whatever it is, is to step out of the pattern.

But most people will just dismiss their attraction as just being biological and. [00:27:00] As you said earlier that callback to biology and to recognize that we’re human and that we’re deeply psychologically complex that we can just start to say, okay, so is there more going on here? And you know that whenever you’re you say you want one thing,

but you’re choosing things that are different than that thing. Then you know that there’s a unconscious belief that’s going on below. And that’s how you can start to see that the outcomes of your life, if they’re different than what you say you want. And you’re choosing things differently than there’s some, there’s some real curiosities to be had in that.

Mike: Yeah. And I think, you know, and I want to explore that I can do that, you know, cause you should, eroticising your wounds. So I wanna, I wanna touch on that, but, um, I think that’s where we can get into this oversimplified approach where, you know, if I would say, I want one thing and I’m doing something else, then it much must just be me.

It must be my lack of willpower or my lack of discipline. Right. All these things that are in the way that distracts me. Yeah. It’s the phone. It’s the, [00:28:00] the thing that I have that I USE to distract me. Whereas there’s potentially some underlying beliefs there. Um, that invite curiosity, and I think that’s certainly gotta be the first point.

So then when it comes to something like that in relationships and, and, and with chemistry, and, you know, as you said, eroticising your wound. Okay. So someone says shit, I’m, I’m choosing people who are not good for me, but there’s a drive there, I don’t know, I I’m so attracted to them. And you know, they hear you say that, Oh shit, maybe that’s something I’m doing.

Okay. I can get curious. What does it then look like beyond reaching out to someone who can support them with it? How can they make sense of, you know, quote unquote ‘eroticising their wound’.

Mark: Well, I, it’s such the first part of just acknowledging that we’re doing something that’s different than what we want is such a beautiful first step to say, to just acknowledge the truth, um, that brings it forward.

And that often can create some shame, but we can learn to increase our capacity to hold healthy shame. Cause that’s [00:29:00] healthy to know that we want something, but we’re choosing something else. Um, and so in that experience is the inquiry one into, okay, well, what do you actually want? What do you really want?

And starting to look at what is the pattern? Cause for most people who eroticise their pain let’s, which I’ve for sure done too is. And that’s why I understand it. And that’s why I can tell when people are full of shit, when they’re talking about something, cause I’ve been so full of shit myself. So the first part is,

let’s say that they’re attracted to unavailable people. Well, what they’ll usually end up in is in this dynamic where someone said they want a relationship, the other person doesn’t. Or says they do, but they’re not acting in accordance with that. Or, um, what they do is they match their relationship intention to someone else’s.

So someone says, I’m not looking for one. And they say, Oh, I’m not either. And so they’ve already set low accountability behaviour in order to just get someone. So they’ve made being connected, [00:30:00] someone more important than honouring themselves.That’s self abandoning behaviour that’s usually learned in childhood.

And there’s so much compassion for that because as soon as you recognise you do that, Then great. Okay. What is the pattern that’s in the way? Where does that come from? How do you want to change? What do you want to change it to? So say for example, there was someone who’s hot and cold. Well, what will happen is they say, Hey, I haven’t heard from you in awhile, blah, blah, blah person hits them up at 1:00 AM.

That’s a good sign that your booty call. Yet, you hook up and the arousal and the sexual connection treats the pain of the abandonment and rejection. So we end up in these cycles and of course that is the best sex. Right? Everyone knows, man, but we have the best sex. Of course, you’ve got like a couple of wounds banging against each other, you know? And it’s, it’s like so full of requests to be saved.

Mike: Yeah.

Mark: To, um, be claimed to be chosen that you, [00:31:00] the, the arousal treats that, but then of course the wound is completely ripped open again, and you’re ending up in the same extremes and gosh, that can be an incredibly painful cycle because the addiction itself is the chemistry, the arousal, the sex.

Mike: Yeah. Because I suppose what is maybe clouding that is, but when it’s good, it’s so good. Right?

Mark: Yeah the best.

Mike: And so that is what makes it on some level think, therefore it must be right. Apart from when it’s really fucking not. And what we’re missing is that as you see it, it’s that wound. That’s actually, it’s just kind of like kerosene being thrown on a fire.

And the reason it’s so height and so heightened and so high as is because it’s so desparate to, to, you know, essentially kind of, you know, fill, fill the void and fill the wound. Right?

Mark: Yeah. And you have these extreme, as you said, you forget about the times when you’re not chosen. Um, and that’s usually because maybe as kids, it could be from many pathologies, but maybe as kids we learn to [00:32:00] ignore truths in our family, we learn to ignore and the family never talked about like, the alcoholic parent or the person who left and you never really got the truth of the story.

And so you’re used to ignoring red flags because that’s how you survive. That’s how you didn’t experience too much dissonance and pain as a kid. So then it’s just normal in a relationship. ‘Oh. But I’ll just, I’ll be the bigger person I’ll do the …’ And so we end up, forgetting about really valuable red flags information that other people who have experienced healthy dynamics or healed their dynamics recognise as a red flag.

And so someone might say, but all I attract is… All the men out there are like this, or all the women are all the people out there like this. Yeah. But if you say no to one of those people. You actually end up in a completely different place. In a place and a space to recognise people who might actually treat you well.

And that’s where, you know, what’s fascinating is when, like someone starts showing up for someone who’s in pattern of choosing unavailable [00:33:00] people and someone’s like consistent does what they say they’re going to do. Calls when they say. It’s very unattractive and they’re like, this isn’t going to heal my wounds.

This is yeah. But it will. It’s saying.

Mike: Put some soothing balm on them for a moment, right?

Mark: Yeah. And then they don’t want to bang that person. Yeah. God, that’s, where’s the thrill? You know, so it’s, it’s easy to sort of like laugh at it, but I’ve been in the cycle where I’m caught in and it feels like a drug.

It feels like it’s impossible to get out of, but it’s sitting in the space of the no. And then having patients. I’m really. I like to think of it as like a test from the universe. It’s like, are you sure? Do you actually want what you say? You want? Can you hold, can you hold, can you hold, can you hold? And then inevitably you see eventually that the world is actually different.

And what you use, I used to think were green flags are actually red flags. So, as soon as you cultivate self worth, Uh, inconsistent. If you’re consistent with yourself, inconsistent [00:34:00] behaviours are not attractive. If you’re available to yourself, unavailability is not attractive. You know, if you, um, have never, if you don’t abandon yourself anymore and you choose yourself, someone who abandons you and doesn’t choose you is not attractive.

And so you start to see that the, what we’re seeking in another we need to heal us is really what we’re seeking from ourselves. And when we give it to ourselves, we no longer chase it in other people. And that’s where relationships are truly born is from a space of choice, not as from a space of need to heal.

But we need to heal to get to the place where we recognise the choice. So, we’re all starting in that place. Where we’re recovering or healing, unresolved family wounds, not just childhood wounds, but like you start to see your parents as the children of parents. And you’re like, Oh shit, they got it too.

Mike: Yeah, which can be a total head fuck. Right? Because maybe on some immature level, I was placing blame there. And then perhaps on some misguided adult level, I was not wanting to place blame there cause I [00:35:00] don’t want to blame them. And so there’s this soup of chaos leaves me in a place where I don’t know how to figure out my stuff and the situation I’m in.

Whereas if we can, perhaps on some level, remove the emotion and pull out the data of what’s going on, what has gone on, what am I seeing? What am I experiencing? What am I doing? All of a sudden, I kind of have some information, right? I can start to explore  with curiosity.

Mark: Yeah. Amen. I mean, that’s, it is, is recognising tha for whatever reason we missed

noticing it or labeling it, but in the labeling, it is such a gift because you realise that it’s not your fault. Like you start to see that your worth was never attached to your parents’ inability to show up or to this situation you had. But what we do with it is the important part. That’s the healing of the hereditary stuff is you might be the first person in your family lineage to say no more.

To say, I won’t be in a relationship with you just [00:36:00] because your blood or whatever, it might be the answer to, to healing.

Mike: Mmm. Umm. Which is potentially a daunting task.

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: At the same time. You know, as you say, there’s, if we want the greater reward, there’s going to be some work. Right. And that means, you know, healing and, and

no longer choosing those little pieces of pain, um, and in order to create something different for our future.

Mark: Yeah. And you start to see that you don’t have to create connection through suffering. Like you create connection through peace and calm and safety. Uh, but it’s. I mean, it’s scary to choose that because we often don’t trust it because we have never experienced it.

And so I have so much love and respect for anyone who’s thinking like, yeah, I do this and I want that, but now it’s me, and that’s my fault that I can – no, it’s a courageous act to choose a new thing. [00:37:00] And so I always honour and respect that, that, that leap of faith that says I’m worthy of, and I’m going to put this boundary or make this claim.

That’s a huge leap and it’s so, uh, it’s such a beautiful act and it inspires everyone around you, even if they are resistant to it.

Mike: Yeah, of course, because there’s often so much baggage in the way of being able to say, I am worthy of love. I am worthy have more than I have been choosing. Right. Because all the stories come rushing in.

And so what I find, and this is something, you know, you’ve mentioned it already. So I want to explore a little bit. Is. So, so without that I’m potentially entering into a relationship or not necessarily, but in my family and my friendships and my work, you know, chasing the income, to get something – potentially love – to cover how I feel about myself and how I feel in general.

And so what I ended up doing is going into the world, and if it’s in a relationship sense [00:38:00] putting that other person in charge of my feelings and my happiness. And, you know, as a line I use recently with someone which is, um, ‘Bro, she’s not responsible for your feelings and your happiness. You are’, and it brings therefore this word codependency.

Um, so cause it feels like that’s kind of what we’ve been talking about. So I’d love you to, to explore that. I know you’ve got so much beautiful content on that. I’ve been part of it. I’ve seen the new course that you’ve got ‘Crushing codependency’. So please. I know it’s a word now that floats out there a lot more, but you know, potentially for a lot of people listening, they don’t really know what that is, you know, and I remember I’ve had conversations with guys before where, you know, it’s along those lines, she’s not responsible for your happiness.

And it’s like, but if I’m in a relationship then who is? Right, it’s just total kind of starting point of understanding what that even is. So can you kind of explain how you see, um, you know, what you see codependency meaning I suppose, and then how you see that playing out.

Mark: Well, the first part is there’s often a [00:39:00] shame associated with even taking on that label. You know, I’m saying I’m codependent. Um, but codependency is just a label that goes upon a group of patterns of behaviour, you know? And so you might call it anxious, avoidance attachment. You might call a number of things. Um, And, and people who are codependent often don’t think they are, you know, they’re high functioning codependents as my friend Terri Cole would call it.

It’s really when your overtly invested in the thoughts, feelings, and outcomes of other people, and often at the cost of your own thoughts, feelings, and outcomes. And so that can operate very subtly. As you were saying, it can be in a sentence as simple as. You know that, but she doesn’t make me happy or they don’t do this.

Or, you know, uh, I want them to just quit this. I want them to read this book, you know, it’s, we’re doing, I mentioned the overfunctioning and [00:40:00] underfunctioning earlier. I mean, codependent people tend to over-function to make up for other people who aren’t. So you might see that in a family system that holds together an addict.

I mean that family system is pivoting and operating around the, the addiction. And so everyone takes on a role to make that addiction continue to survive. And it’s when someone breaks the pattern who says I will no longer, uh, I love you too much for this to continue. That’s what inspires healing.

Healing’s not inspired by, uh, continuing to enable, although that’s a key part.

Mike: So we don’t create a bigger piece of shit, basically.

Mark: Exactly. And so if you have someone in your, in relationship with that, you’re afraid to even tell the truth about something you’re going through or express that you’re, you’re, I’m afraid you’re not connecting anymore.

Or that, you asked them to do this thing. And they said they would, and they didn’t. So then you did it like you continue to fill space that they need to step into. You continue to take the space of [00:41:00] their growth. If they’re upset and they come home grumpy from work, you all of a sudden, your day is ruined. You know, and that should have nothing to do with you, but often a codependent person will think it’s about them or take it upon themselves to fix the other person.

Mike: Yeah. So you kind of let them be with their feelings, it becomes part of your job.

Mark: Yeah. And in trying to fix their feelings, you’re also sending the message that they can’t do it themselves. So they continue to be treated in a way that perpetuates their under functioning. And so their identity is there’s something wrong with me or I’m not, you know, I don’t have to show up because you keep showing up so much, you know, it’s like you tell a kid to make their bed, but you keep making it every morning.

You know, it’s the same of, yeah.

Mike: Yeah. Why would I bother? So then what I’m hearing is, is kind of the two ways that this very simply can play out as. I’m placing, um, my feelings and my happiness in your hands. And then the other one being I’m taking responsibility for your feelings and your happiness.

[00:42:00] Mark: Yeah, like if you don’t do that thing, I’m going to be upset with you, you know? So then I’m overly invested in your behaviour. Yeah. And the relationships are often structured based on those patterns of how they dance together. And, you know, the relational structure that we inherited is codependency. I mean, that’s essentially what the quote unquote ‘breadwinner family’ is, is like one person’s going to sell self abandon –

this is historically I’m saying – would go to the factory and work or do a job they hate because they need to provide, so there’s not really true self expression going on. And again, I recognise the limits from a geographic perspective and all the different things that influence this. Um, because you know, my parents are immigrants, so, and grew up very poor.

So they did, I couldn’t say to my parents, like you can self-express and do anything you want and they’d be like, eat shit.

Mike: Yeah. It has to be practical and realistic and responsible.

[00:43:00] Mark: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, the, and the other person. Um, stay at home, take care of everyone, put your needs second. So both people are abandoning in order to maintain the family system.

And now you see this sort of historically, I’d say it’s leveling out now, but you saw a massive increase in divorce because one, you could. Before you weren’t legally allowed to get divorced. You know, you had in Canada, you had to get it approved by like a provincial, which would be a state body and Australia too, uh, are they called territory or states?

Mike: Both

Mark: Yeah. Right. Oh, yeah. You’re like, uh, the States and Canada. And they, and in this, I have to have a provincial board approve a divorce. It wasn’t even until 1967 that the divorce had came in. That you could get divorced because you just didn’t align with someone. And that had to go through a three year separation.

So you saw a huge spike in divorce, but then. It wasn’t [00:44:00] until the mid 80’s that they re they changed the act. So it was only one year. And then you saw another massive spike in divorce. And that makes sense. Cause you have, you know, the sexual revolution, the feminist revolution, you have all these different, um, Movements that are about equity that are out it’s self-empowerment about, uh, sovereignty over self and my choices.

I mean, gosh, still in a lot of countries, which I’m not criticising this, but still in a lot of places you marry the person your family tells you to. Uh, your future is essentially decided for you. And that’s true for a lot of people, you know, and, and, uh, you know, there has been historically some argument that, uh, arranged marriages are as satisfying,

if not more satisfying. Um, well that’s because they weren’t allowed to get divorced. So as soon as you start to, as soon as you start to bring in all the different variables.

Mike:  Yeah. You’ve got to look at many different factors.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Human [00:45:00] relationships are complex and there’s not really one way that’s better than the other.

I’ll tell you the best way to have a relationship is two people feel free to be themselves. I don’t care the construct or how you came together. If you have a deep love and respect for one another, and the relationship is a container that grows and expands as you do and invites your self expression, then, then we’re on the money.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter how you met it. Doesn’t matter your gender combination. What matters is that both of you are committed to the full self expression of each other and together.

Mike: Mm and I love that, ’cause I think, you know what I’m also hearing here is – and it doesn’t matter what it looks like, because for some people that could look exactly like the cliched model, which is one partner is going out and providing, and the other one is, you know.

Mark: It’s beautiful. Right?If that’s by choice. Yeah. And sometimes it’s not by choice because of course there’s socioeconomic factors in that too. So, um, it’s not like, yeah.

Mike: And maybe some beliefs that are still just wedged in there. Right. Disguising it [00:46:00] as, no, this is what we’re choosing, but actually it’s maybe a little bit of dishonesty to yourself.

Mark: Well, you see this with, um, same gender relationships, um, or different gender constructs then heteronormative because, uh, they choose the stay at home person based on skillset rather than, uh, gender, which is fascinating. Right? Cause if we did that from a heteronormative perspective, you know, it’s like women can’t win either.

You’re supposed to crush life, get, do work, crush it in the workplace. And if you don’t do that, Right. And if you don’t do that or you want to just, just, which is, I don’t mean it as a minimisation, but if you want to stay at home and be, uh, take care of the home and be a mom that can then be minimised by women too.

So, uh, you know, it’s very fascinating. And as men, we do the same thing. It’s like, Oh, but it’d be valuable if you stayed at home, but then we’ll call you a pussy and we’ll do all these things, you know? The language and the shaming around what, we just want other people to live in a way that makes us feel safe. That’s [00:47:00] ultimately what we want.

Mike: Oh, that sounds like a nice sort of summation, but also a huge can of worms. Um, okay. So, but okay. Beautiful. And so what I want to speak to, cause you know, one of the things you first said around codependency is there can be a shame attached to even, essentially admitting right,

that I have some level of kind of codependency and you know, I think we’ll see, not just in relationships, but a dependency that is not necessarily serving us or the other party. Right. And so that could be anything, you know, could be, I am solely dependent on my dog to feel okay. And if I didn’t have my dog, my world would crumble right now.

It’s like, okay, well that dog, you know, can’t really speak for how much pressure it’s being lumped on it, but there’s, there’s different ways of dependencies. Right. And, you know, perhaps in our job, um, there’s a, there’s an entire dependency on that for my sense of identity. And I see this a lot in men, right?

You know, what comes up with who you are often is what I do. Right. And so there’s a dependency on that [00:48:00] for a sense of identity, which is flimsy, because of course, any moment that gets pulled out from under you, which is happening to a phenomenal amount of people right now, like never before in history, people losing their jobs.

Right. And with that identity, there’s a dependency on that. That doesn’t necessarily healthy, but I want to speak to the other side of that in relationships. Where is there a, I dunno, I was going to say a healthy, um, level or version of dependency. Because I, you know, it could be perhaps arguing that if we try to avoid any level of dependency that also might be yeah, very unrealistic or tough expectation.

Mark: Yeah, well, we wouldn’t be in very healthy relationships, you know, they’d be too isolated individuals not co-creating anything together and yeah, that’s that line of interdependency. And there’s a, when we look at what differentiates a securely attached person from an insecurely attached person, uh, we would say the [00:49:00] defining characteristic is that your partner’s needs matter as much as your own.

Not more than your own. Not less than your own. And that’s really a healthy level of interdependency is when I really do need help, I ask and I’m willing to be supported – that becomes the belief I’m worthy of being supported. Right. And do you have a hard time letting people offer you help or support? Do you have a hard time when someone says I got that, I’ll do that for you, or, Hey, can I help do that?

And you’re like, no, no, no, no, I’m all good. Or when someone compliments you and you can’t just say, thank you, you know, these are all just the healthy level is, you know, compromise is an interesting thing because of course, in response to a lot of what you and I have been talking about, people say things like.

Well, this is just the new generation of people. No one values, relationship and compromise, and, you know, love is about giving and blah, blah, blah, blah. And yes, all that’s true. The challenge is, is that [00:50:00] often not always the people saying that are still operating under, like the compromise is actually self abandonment, so, you know, and yeah, so this becomes this.

Of course as humans, we always do this, we learn something and then we pivot to it’s far extreme. And so we become, and you saw this in the feminist revolution in response to women losing their sovereignty and their safety and security financially, and then pivoting far to financial independence – “I don’t need anybody” – you know, that kind of thing. Which was important because that’s the reclamation of self that’s.

Like if you have been a doormat in relationship your whole life, usually the first response is to create walls. Mm, and that’s healthy at first because you need to get a separate sense of self before you know, what to draw boundaries around, you know? Cause that’s ultimately what boundaries do is they draw a circle around who you are.

They preserve your wholeness. And, [00:51:00] this same sort of pivot that we all do as humans as we go to complete independence, I don’t need anybody. And men have done this too. And people do this is I’ve been hurt by relationship. I saw my mom get hurt by a relationship and then the overcompensation men do is become overtly placating and too nice. Um, and they don’t have boundaries and that of course is incredibly unattractive, but they’re really just trying to, um, they’re self abandoning in order to maintain connection. And, that’s not the solution. None of it is the solution. The solution is learning how to stay in your own lane, learning how to take care of yourself, learning how to offer help, and allow someone else to act, to say yes to that.

And also, um, somewhat teaching each other, how to ask for help. And that’s where your, you start to see that a compromise comes from a place of love. It comes from a place of ‘It doesn’t feel like you’re losing by compromising’.

Yeah. And love yourself too. [00:52:00] Right, right. That I love me. And I love you. And I love us.

There’s no, I don’t not love me anymore because I’m doing this, which would be self abandoning and learning the line between self-abandonment and compromise. Again, sometimes requires that pivot to the edge, to not compromise at all, to realize you’re not connected to anybody. So you start to see, this is how boundaries, as I said, are learned is like our boundaries are often poorest, so we allow too much and then they become rigid and they become a wall.

And then it’s ultimately a healthy boundary is how do I feel protected and stay connected. And that’s the same dance that we’re learning relationally. How do I create a container where we both feel safe to be ourselves and be okay with that threatening the relational status?

You know, because the biggest fear that people have is that the relationship won’t last forever, but in the fear that their relationship won’t last [00:53:00] forever, they actually, um, don’t have the conversations that might threaten its status. But those conversations are actually the very thing that deepen it. And so we’re left in this conundrum, because the way to deeper intimacy is to have conversations that either threatened the fracturing of a relationship or deepen it.

The beautiful thing is when you have those conversations that require so much courage, you are saying that the truth matters more than forever.

Mike: Yeah, we’re just staying together, even though it might be, you know, not effective at all. Right?

Mark: Which it doesn’t serve each other’s expansion or growth. Sometimes leaving relationship actually serves our expansion and our growth more because it requires the rebellion against a system that potentially has held one or both of us hostage.

So usually if it’s holding one host, it’s just holding the other person. And those are hard conversations to have because I’m sure even people listening, some people might be like, Bullshit. This is what’s wrong with [00:54:00] relationships today. And I’d say, sure, you know, if that’s what you feel great, but I promise you that the true path to freedom is in a relationship is the freedom to be yourself.

If the being yourself threatens the relationship, then the relationship is not a healthy container, you know, is right.

Mike: It’s a crutch of some sort

If your expansion cracks the container of the relationship, then the container of the relationship can’t hold you. Hmm. And so that’s, it’s like we need to think about the container of a relationship being something that continues to grow as we do.

And that means that we need to continue to deepen the intimacy with ourselves, but then also with her partner, which is scary. Cause then we’re literally, always on the edge of what we know intimately, which is fucking terrifying. I mean, I’m in, I’m in it. I know. It’s like. I’m wrong a lot. I don’t like it.

It’s required to be seen to be witnessed and to have humility.

And [00:55:00] otherwise, I think, you know, you see the word abandoned and also compromise. I think otherwise you’re compromising yourself, which is, you know, I think there’s simple link to abandoning self. No, but if I just stay here and I stay this version of myself, then things will be okay.

But also I think more broadly speaking in life, the moment I try and stop and cling to something here is the moment life just moves past me. And it’s potentially very much the same with that relationships. Right.

Mark: Yeah, it’s so fascinating how we try to hold on to a container that fit a previous part of our life.

And we think that we have to stay in the way the relationship started in order for me to honour the relationship, not realizing that, uh, if the fully expressed version of myself today comes out I invite the fully expressed version of my partner, and that is the most beautiful thing in the world, but we’re so terrified and protecting the other person from hurt [00:56:00] and the possibility of rejection and abandonment that we have

Mike: My shitty beliefs about myself might pop up.

Mark: Right. And so that’s codependent, right? If I’m protecting you from how you might feel about you because of the truth, then I’m not serving either of us. I’m pretending to be someone. So we’re actually not in love with, with each other. We’re in love with the version of each other that we pretend to be that hold the relationship together, which is built on very thin ice, because both of those veneers are five Jack Daniels shots away from being exploded and expressed.

Mike: Yeah. And I think the other thing I see there, you know, we’ve spoken a little bit about nice guys and I, I certainly worked with a lot of guys who kind of fit that mold. And the other term that comes up there is White Knight. The person who’s choosing to self sacrifice. Right. And so part of that can look like, well, I am happy to let that side of me go and you want to just to keep the status quo here.

But I mean, fundamentally what we’re doing is. Consistently just sweeping a bunch of things under the rug. It keeps piling up in the corner. It’s fucking obvious, but you know what? [00:57:00] I’m just happy to see sacrifice and not touch it.

Mark: That’s such a righteous throne too.

Mike: Yeah. We’re going to, of course, right. Cause it puts me, you know, I’ve heard you speak about this before.

It, it creates this kind of separation of hierarchy in the relationship because I’m the one who’s doing the things and, you know, it doesn’t take, I think too much analysis to realize there’s going to be at some level, will I need to also be seen and rewarded and acknowledged for that? My suffering and my sacrifice, right?

Mark: Yeah. That, uh, that recognition also our, sorry, that righteous throne that we sort of stand on to, it becomes a way that we don’t get witnessed and we don’t get seen. And ultimately. You know, the fuel that drives it is inadequacy. Because it’s, it’s worth being derived from saving people only because I don’t believe my worth lives in just being.

And so that. It’s like at the very beginning we were talking about, [00:58:00] okay, well, you can pay for a date, but are you paying for the date because you were taught that that’s what you should do or are you yeah. And then it becomes the, the actual act of paying is contrived and it’s creating a secret contract.

That’s going to feel icky for the person receiving the thing. And so that’s that nice guy sort of manipulative behaviour, and don’t get me wrong. I have so much compassion for, because I’ve certainly participated in it because that’s us participating in the act of patriarchy. And. And our value. We might lose a mate because we’re giving that energy where we’re acting in that way.

And they don’t trust us because our energetics is asking them to exchange themselves for this coffee or this thing. And if the energetic, as you said, so eloquently earlier comes from a loving space. I do this because I actually want you to feel taken care of. I want you to feel appreciated. It comes from a place of love.

It’s not attached to a second [00:59:00] date and, you know, energetically you’re going in with that, that comes from a loving whole place. That whether the, the point of the date is to figure out if you align not to manipulate them, you know, and that can be true from no matter the side of the relationship.

Mike: Oh, yeah, very much so.

And so there’s a word that’s popping up for me, the end that I want to address, because it’s something that’s very, for me central to so much of the work that I do. But also when I think about, you know, the everyday legend, this term, that I’ve kind of coined this as podcast, the ‘evolved man’ as well, that you were speaking about earlier or whatever that term might become now,

Mark: Maybe that’s called the everyday legend now. I like that. Okay.

Mike: The conscious man is another overused term. Right. But that word is integrity. And it’s actually something that I, um, have learned a lot about from you over the years of our friendship, which I treasure, and I’m incredibly grateful for. So what I’d like to do is ask you kind of how you see that linking in when it comes to this idea of [01:00:00] codependency, what is integrity for you?

Let’s start there. And then how does that kind of play out in the, in this codependency?

Mark: I remember hearing a Rom Dass say. Uh, I hope I live with the integrity, that the truth that live within me are the same as the truth that live outside of me. And when those things are not aligned, everything, uh, everything I choose comes from a place or every message I give is a mixed message;

one of love and one of fear. And that was one of those like, sentences that was like, Oh yeah, that’s integrity for me. That, that the truths that live within me are expressed in my behaviours and my way of being. Um, integrity for me is acting in a way that is honourable to my values and who I am and the characters, the characteristics that I want to hold.

Um, [01:01:00] and that’s not obviously always easy because we have a lot of, uh, the world is based on and you’re celebrated for not having integrity. You can get ahead in business by not having integrity. You can certainly get ahead in business by having integrity, but the fastest way to hack that one is to be dishonest and.

And of course, I’m not saying everyone is successful in businesses is dishonest, but there are a large amount of corporations that are dishonest. And I used to be a pharmaceutical rep. So Hey, you know, there’s that. The.

Mike: And also maybe not even, dishonest cause that, cause that could be misguided, that that could be misleading for some people, but simply out of integrity because it might feel like I’m not being dishonest. It’s actually a lack of integrity.

Mark: Yeah. Cause that’s like to say that the law is always in integrity when we know the law is not in integrity, you know?

Mike: Um, so like a massive organization, multinational not playing techs in a country. It does a lot of business then, for example.

Mark: Yeah. Like, is that right?

Like using factories that exploit [01:02:00] cheap labour, is that right? No. So you start to ask these sorts of questions and, uh, as a man, my integrity really started to like, am I choosing this from a place of love? Is this way I’m being how I want to be remembered? You know, those types of questions just really started to come forward from me and, um, That was the most freeing thing was to finally take charge of my integrity to finally say like, okay, well, if this doesn’t align with what the group or the general consensus of the masculine is, then I’d rather not belong.

You know, that, cause I think one of the most challenging things for men is coming to terms with your emotionality, which all men have because you’re human. And your sensitivities and those actually in [01:03:00] recognising that you might be likely more sensitive than a lot of women you’ve met in your life and maybe all of them and in recognising that that is not in any way tied to

your masculinity. And then how do you express it in a way that’s integrated? Because you know, in the research from Brené Brown, she talks about how, when a man cries in front of a woman, she often loses respect for the man. So that puts us in a bit of a conundrum because of course we’ve heard women want emotionally intelligent men, men, right?

Yeah, the evloved man right?

Right. But then when we’re emotional or seen as weak, which is a story that we perpetuate as men. So really the answer is to, as men claiming our emotionality, uh, and I think when our tears come from a place, when it’s childlike, you know, when the emotion is childlike and it’s seeking attention and it’s seeking affirmation and we maybe learned it as a kid, as a [01:04:00] way to connect with our mother, or our father.

Mike: To get attention.

Mark: Yeah. When it comes from that place, it’s not, it is manipulative. It’s contrived, which is not to dismiss it because that’s a learned survival behaviour. But when it starts to come from a place of, I’m not seeking your validation and I can cry and you can. What you think about my crying has nothing to do with what I think about my crying.

It’s like, when you finally have a boundary with someone they’re like, Oh now, that’s attractive. Right. And you realize it. If you’re a male who’s emotional and never really had them, you’re like, wait, Saying no is actually okay. And that makes people respect me. Whoa, this is a mind fuck. And yeah, yeah.

Mike: Or it might not. Right, but there’s, there’s the listen there to how much meaning do I attach to that? And do I try and do I try to manage that? Yeah, exactly.

Yeah. So that’s, I think a really beautiful, like I know you and I have had a [01:05:00] lot of conversations about this. Cause I think we’re uh, quite similar in terms of our emotionality and our journeys and, and, uh, I echo your sentiments about, um, the value in our friendship, because it’s so safe for me to be seen with you.

And I think that not all men have that experience and I consider myself pretty lucky to have had that experience. Um, And when you get a taste of it, you realise as that that’s everything, when you can be self expressed, then you can finally connect on a deeper intimate level with your partner. But, you know, we have to recognise that whatever age we are, as men, we likely have had that many years of socialisation to not have emotion.

So we have more work to do in terms of, uh, understanding our emotional fluency. We have more years to put in and shit, we usually are being asked to do it in the moment of a conflict. Like, why can’t you just share how you feel? And we’re like, no one has wanted to know how I feel for the [01:06:00] last 35 fucking years.

And nor have I.

Mark: Yeah.

Mike: And I haven’t known how to.

Mark: I don’t even know what these feelings mean. All I know is that I’m socialised to kind of have some happiness, to be sexual and to have anger, which is usually aggression. You know, not clean anger. So, it’s our work too. Do that for herself, you know, and that’s, we have to get to the source of all of these things and we have to learn our emotional fluency.

I think the way of the future. If we start to really claim this, um, you know, we start to, and women in a heteronormative sense choose, uh, more emotional men, men who have emotionality than other men will seek to emulate the men who are being chosen. That’s how evolution works.

Mike: Yeah. Beautiful. I love that.

And, and. Cause there’s also something that I see a lot. There’s a word that comes up at time and time again, and men that I have conversations with. And then I work with around emotions and it’s this desire to control our emotions. And, and [01:07:00] I, you know, I see that, okay, I know what’s happening here, right?

There’s this desire that I know I have emotions, but I want to, I just want to keep them in a, an, an, a level.

Mark: Keep ’em in check.

Mike:  Yeah. And, and because they, there’s this pendulum swinging, as you said earlier, right. We tend to go to the other end. And so the, when you don’t know something and as certainly is my experiences for a lot of men and emotions and it’s foreign and exploring that feels very vulnerable, very open.

I see the idea that if I explore that, I’ll go to the other end of the pendulum. I will then be a mess. I won’t, I won’t be able to hold it together. You know, I’ll, I’ll, they will be controlling me. And of course, for some people that does happen. But you know, when you’re talking about this emotional fluency, I think there’s a learning process to get to the middle,

let’s call it, of understanding, managing and processing my emotions. I’m not controlling them [01:08:00] and stuffing them away and not having them control me. You know, where I perhaps am absolutely an emotional wreck. And that might not mean don’t cry at the drop of the hat. And it might just be, I can’t contain my emotions because I don’t have those boundaries within myself.

Right. Um, there there’s so much to explore there, but I feel like if someone hasn’t explored that before then, well you’re probably a beginner. And you know what dude? You might need to suck at it for a while. If you want to get better at it, if you want to get more fluent at it, like Mark said, then it’s going to take time.

You’re learning a new language, but be patient with yourself, get someone who can support you in learning that. And I think, you know, certainly back to the ‘Evolved man’ piece where you were essentially writing it to women saying, Hey, you know, you want the guy, you want it to be more open. Are you ready if he’s going to sit down and cry in front of you?

Right. Cause that’s potentially a huge barrier that will send them away. And there’s a word you’ve spoken about a few times through this conversation that for me comes up there is: safety and you know, and that’s what I see myself, but also, I men that I work [01:09:00] with, you’ve got to feel safe to go into our emotive side, to, into our feminine, into our heart.

And if we don’t and if that’s, you know, thrown back in our face, there’s a likelihood that we’ll lock it in a box even further away. Right.

Mark: True. Well, if we place the need for safety in someone else to provide it for us, that’s where we start to get stuck. Just like the validation in my emotionality is in, if my male friends tell me or my partner says it’s okay to be emotional, you know?

And, and, that’s a challenging thing because that’s going against our biology. Our biology says, seek community that makes this okay. And if it’s validated by your community it’s validated. As opposed to, you know, certainly valuable to find men who are doing this work or people who are doing this work, depending on which avenue you want to go. And

and that is, you know, cause you can certainly learn it in the container with other people. No matter the gender, I’d say some of the most powerful work [01:10:00] like the work you do with men is that a lot of healing men have to do with men. Just like, you know, when you talk to women who are doing women’s work, a lot of women have healing to do with women.

And we certainly do. I certainly have. And when you get to know the edge of your rage, you know, the edge of, I usually find that there’s a lot of grief below that, you know? And so whenever I experience someone who’s overtly guarded, overtly masculine, overtly protected, you know, there’s a lot of grief below all of that, of who they have not been allowed to be.

And probably a lot of suffering they’ve endured, um, with an open heart as a kid,likely. And, we usually experience so much of our social rejection from our gender first. And as you see the social constructs of hierarchy, come in, when you’re in, like, you know, when you’re like 11, 12, 13, 14, you start to see social hierarchies being created.

It’s usually by athletic [01:11:00] performance for men and height, facial hair, things that make them ‘masculine’, and then you see it for women being placed in a femininity body, that kind of stuff. So, it’s the re the reclamation of yourself is so fascinating. Cause it’s, you have to learn to hold a container of your own emotion.

And that’s scary at first because. If you’ve never touched it, if you’ve never just sat in the edge of it, you’ll try to avoid it through sexual arousal, through providing, through having status, through buying nice shit. You know, just so you know, I remember when I bought an engagement ring, I remember thinking to myself, like, I bet you, cause I, that engagement didn’t work out.

Spoiler alert for people listening. That was the sort of beginning of everything. And, for me into looking into my relational patterns. And I remember I bought a pretty [01:12:00] big ring and I remember thinking to myself, I bet you that the size of the ring is correlated to, uh, the desire for someone not to pay attention to the connection. No judgment on the size of the ring you bought.

But I’m saying that there would be a loose or slight correlation and the research does show.

Mike: And you have that when you bought it.

Mark: I thought that, yeah, and I thought like pay attention to the, to this, so you don’t ask me about how I’m feeling.

Mike: Wow.

Mark: Right.

Mike: And, and,

Mark: whew,

Mike: um, and, and what’s popped up for me there immediately is, you know, it might not be the ring,

it could be something else. Has there been something else that you have brought into the relationship as a distraction from perhaps, the level of connection?

Mark: Status? Did you buy a Hummer? You know, I’m going to be, do you have, what are those called in Australia? Uh, Those was weird car trucks. What do you guys call it?

Mike: A Ute.

Mark: Yeah a ute.

Mike: Car trucks. [01:13:00] Mark and I spoken about utes a lot in the past.

Mark: Yeah. A ute.

Mike: Beautiful. So, okay man, look, as we both know, there’s so much that we can kind of keep exploring there because as you’re talking there about aggression and anger, you know what I’m hearing as well is that’s perhaps where some self-abandonment has happened, time and time again.

And so there’s perhaps anger and rage that I have, and I place it out in the world. Where in reality, perhaps I need to hold out a mirror and see where is that actually being generated from within myself and my own actions. And back to the point before: stepping out of my own integrity. And there’s a line there that you said or a question for yourself, which I think is really powerful,

and it’s perhaps something that the listeners can take away, which is, “Do I respect myself?” And that perhaps invites a yes or no answer. So maybe the next question is what would it take for me? Who do I need to be? And what do I need to do in order to respect myself? I think there’s a really simple template to guide ourselves.

Mark: Yeah. And [01:14:00] it’s really as simple as you become someone you admire. And a lot of people, when you ask questions, like, what do you need? What do you value? They don’t know. And that’s usually because their lives and for speaking from a codependent place, but this can, this pathology can come from many reasons is they don’t know because they’ve placed their life around other people’s needs.

They’ve uh.

Mike: I value what you value.

Mark:  Right. And, and I chameleon myself to be like you. So I feel like I fit in, I feel. And so differentiating.

Mike: You or the group, perhaps, right? Like it could be the group as well.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. So it could be like, you’re a smoker, and then you realise you don’t want to be a smoker anymore. And you realise that as you stop smoking, the people around you either have to change in some sense or

you have to continue to be like that or not, no judgment on smoking. It’s just a simple example, slight judgment on smoking. It’s not a great health decision. But the fascinating thing about that is in the [01:15:00] changing of your own choices is, is the simple way to figure out what you value, is to just look at people who inspire you, people who you admire, because their values are what you actually are pursuing.

And so that’s a simple sort of hack to to figure out what you value and then you just start, what would my life look like if it, if I wanted to get there, where would I start here? And you got to clean up your life.  Because that’s integrity. Integrity is saying no to the things that don’t align with your core essence, with what your soul is saying needs to be expressed from you.

It’s the reclamation of your authentic self. And Gabor Maté talks about how humans have two needs for attachment and for belonging. But when. Oh sorry for authenticity and belonging. When authenticity threatens belonging, belonging usually wins. And so we have so many moments in our childhood where we let go of [01:16:00] parts of our core essence, our core expression for survival.

And this is the act of getting into integrity is one discovering what do you value and who do you want to be and how do you want to leave your footprint on this world? And then making your life align with that? That’s integrity; is getting back into your soul’s purpose, your soul’s integrity, your soul alignment.

And that’s treating people with grace, kindness, love which remember grace, kindness and love are often boundaries, are often saying no are often, it is loving to tell someone that their behavior is not okay for you. It’s actually loving. It’s loving to say I can’t maintain a relationship with you, that is committed to pain.

I can’t, but I am committed to a relationship with you. That’s committed to love and respect, and here’s what I’m willing to do to do that. If you’re not cool, I love you, but if you are cool, here’s what it looks like. And that’s, I mean, that’s essentially like what a beautiful invitation that is to someone to [01:17:00] love themselves and each other.

Mike: Yeah, which might also be, feel, look very painful. Yeah.

Mark: Well, every part of you that adapted has to die.

Mike: Yeah. Yes. Very much so. And you know, I think getting quite simply that that’s

choosing to be honest with yourself. And then again, asking the question, well, who do I want to be? And if you’re struggling to think of that, and then perhaps you can look at, you know, who do I admire and what is it about them and their character, right. Not the fact that they have the watch and the shoes and the thing and the partner, but, uh, about their character.

Um, beautiful. Okay. So. I checked the time, which means

Mark:  It’s time.

Mike: I feel like we should wrap this up, but of course I could keep talking. So, but what I’m actually hearing in all of this for you is, you know, I hate to self source and keep bringing it back to why I’ve chosen to call this podcast what I have, [01:18:00] but fuck it,

that’s what I’m going to do, um, is, you know, there’s this term – legend. It’s something that I realized, man, I use it all the time. And then I was like, why don’t I use it all the time? And it just, you know, invited inquiry. So what I actually want to ask you is when you hear that word used in reference to someone, what comes to mind?

Mark: Well, one, the word has a bit of a mythical nature to it. You know, I think about it from them mythical sort of, uh, a story of, of, uh, Of like a warrior in some sense. And, you know, I think of like Braveheart, you know, not a great ending, but great movie, you know? And when I think of a legend, everyday legend, I think of how simple it is as a person

to be inspiring. You don’t have to have a social platform. You can be inspiring just by being a person of integrity. [01:19:00] You can be inspiring by honoring your word. You can be inspiring by not tolerating, um, people and, uh, government or whatever it is, uh, that acts in ways that create suffering And that can simply just be by the choices you make in your everyday world.

That alone just being someone of integrity, trickles to everyone around you, because they are inspired by how you show up and make it that matter more than anything. Now I have always appreciated people who put the truth over the fear of my response to the truth. Because to me, that means they’re committed to something that is about my expansion, about calling me me forward.

And gosh, I wouldn’t keep anyone else around me because that it doesn’t serve me to play small. It doesn’t serve you to let me play small and a legend an everyday [01:20:00] legend is I think, leaves, uh, a foot marker, a footprint upon the world that is inspiring and filled with compassion and grace. I think maybe grace being one of the most important, at least in my most recent time.

Mike: Beautiful. I love it. Thank you.

Mark: Thanks for having me brother, to be the first, I feel honoured.

Mike: Got to pop that cherry.

Mark: I feel so honored and, um, you continue to do such beautiful work and continue to say yes to things that your expansion asks of you. So, that’s inspiring in and of itself.

Mike: Thank you. Well, it took me longer than I would have liked, but I also knew I needed to just sit and not act with perhaps a rashness that I continue to with things.

You know what let’s just give some consideration, which is so me as well. Um, okay, so let’s wrap up on you. Please. If there’s something that you’re creating in the world that you’d like to share, and also where Mark, can people find [01:21:00] you?

Mark: So you can find me personally on and then you can go to @createthelove on Instagram.

That’s also on Facebook or Twitter, but on Instagram is where all the links are to get courses. So I have a course on boundaries. I have a course on it’s called rediscover your wholeness. It’s all about like, what do you value figuring out who you are, where did you lose yourself? How do you reclaim yourself?

That goes well with the boundaries course. And then I have, um, A breakup recovery course. That’s all about five weeks of walking people through the stages of grief, but also the stages of expansion to use that grief, to create a better version of ourselves and Crushing Codependency, which is again a, I mean, that’s been such a fun course to create.

I created it with a psychotherapist named Terri Cole and, uh, that was just a really fundamental, and I have a course on relationship to money. So it’s all about all the different types of relationships. So if any of those resonate, uh, would love for [01:22:00] those to be part of someone’s journey to figuring those things out. It, it is such an honour.

Mike: Beautiful. And I can certainly speak from experience the power, um, and immense value in all of Mark’s work. Um, cause I’ve been in it with him. I sat next to him, uh, in the front of a room and I’m in the front of a course and consume so much of his content. I appreciate what you’re doing in the world, brother, and for you coming on and sharing some of your insight and expertise, um, and that also beautifully unique sense of humour that you have as well.

Thank you for joining us today. And perhaps we can explore more of that side of it and our next conversation, cause I’m sure there will be many more.

Mark: Thank you so much for having me brother.

Mike: You’ve been listening to the everyday legends podcast. The show dedicated to helping everyday mean build legendary relationships with yourself, with your partners and in your world. If you have got something from this [01:23:00] podcast, please share it with someone that you think could benefit from it. And please visit your home for podcasts. Like us.

Subscribe to us. Leave us a review. Your feedback is phenomenal in getting this in front of more eyes and ears. Until next time I’m Mike Campbell. And remember to build that legendary integrity.


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