Destructive Abundance

abundance mindsetHaving an abundance mindset is a wonderful thing. It literally makes life more fun. It supports actions and choices that move you forward in life.

But it has an evil twin.

“Destructive abundance” is what happens when you start to achieve a lot of success and you begin to hoard that success, living in fear of losing it.

When you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you have nothing to lose. Under those circumstances it’s easier to adopt an abundance mindset.

But as you begin to acquire success in your relationships, finances, career, or anything else, you have something of value…and you don’t want to lose it.

Your mind begins to shift very slowly, often without you even noticing. Your mind shifts away from an abundance mindset and toward destructive abundance…the fear of losing what you’ve gained.

Let me tell you how this impacts relationships.

When you’re single and searching for a relationship, you don’t have much to lose. Sure, you can lose valuable time, or have some negative experiences with people, but you don’t have a psychological investment in any one relationship.

Then you find someone you really like. He likes you back. The next thing you know there’s a real relationship… whether you’ve formally labeled it as such or not. This is where things get tricky.

This is the first hurdle where you must bypass destructive abundance.

If you really like the guy, your mind becomes attached to the future you have envisioned with him. It’s not in the bag yet, but you feel like life somehow owes you the future you have begun to picture in your mind. You’ve gotten rather attached to the idea of being with this guy.

Then he does something to screw it all up. He doesn’t call you back one day, or he expresses an idea or belief you find annoying. He does something that threatens your mental picture of living happily ever after.

You get stressed. He senses your distress and thinks you are “overreacting.” He says so, and this makes matters even worse.

Now, you have to remember, he fell in love with the woman who is free and relaxed with an abundance mindset. She was just open to the adventure of life and what it might bring.

abundance mindsetBut faced with the threat of losing something you value, a different side of you begins to emerge. He’s not used to this other side of you, and it can be bad for a relationship. That’s destructive abundance. It’s the opposite of an abundance mindset.

It’s the shadow side of truly valuing things that are good. You need to go after what you want in this life. But do so while watching out for destructive abundance as it tries to emerge. Don’t let it take over.

Live toward what you want. Don’t ever let your mind focus on what it is afraid of losing. Always and continuously focus on possibilities, open doors, and new opportunities. Doing so in a relationship creates amazing results.

Always on your side,


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33 thoughts on “Destructive Abundance

  1. Arlene said:

    Thank you James. You emails are so insightful and helpful and YES, they address so many of the problems we face as we become involved in a relationship. 🙂

  2. Lisa said:

    This is so good and explains so much, thank you!!

  3. Jean said:

    I’m not sure what happened today. I have been friends with a guy for over 2 1/2 years. I’m married but separated for over 1 1/2 years living in a different home. My guy friend and I became more like FWB about the same time I moved out.
    I started the divorce process this weekend and my guy FWB, put me back into the friend zone last night he said,
    “I feel like l have given you the wrong impression, and I don’t want to.” We talked calmly and never fought. I just don’t understand, can you give me any insight?
    His hug was distant and he wouldn’t even kiss me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Jean. That would be a great question to submit to our relationship coaches so they could gather the details, but on the surface it sounds like he may think your choice to follow through on the divorce means you expect something more than FWB from him…and he may not be looking for that.

  4. Tina Kurrels said:


  5. Jackie said:

    Good communication is so essential in any loving relationship. I understand the problem with feeling disrespected as Kitta discovered with her man. But this does work both ways. A more mature and understanding man could have expressed that he felt disrespected and why, while at the same time, trying to understand Kitta’s underlying fear of abandonment, a different more painful from of disrespect. I can see both points of view here. I think Kitta, don’t be too hard on yourself. Definitely it is good to consider how we react emotionally to things, but we all react strongly sometimes, and hopefully, our partners can work to understand as each person strives to choose better emotional responses when challenges arise. Keep moving forward, keep the faith, listen to your intuition, and expect the right man to come and give you room to be you — your authentic you — the “whole” you — and this means the cool you and the you who sometimes make mistakes. This man will love you for you and want to grow together as a partnership and team. He will celebrate your successes and your challenges. He will grow with you and learn too. This man will enhance your life and you his. You deserve that. Don’t settle for less. Much peace.

    • Abby said:

      I love this perspective too. It she’d an important light on the great advice that James is giving. Sometimes it’s so easy to blame the woman, but the right man will find it easier to understand – if the communication is there in the first place. We can only do so much, and too much emphasis on the woman makes it easier for the man to absolve himself of responsibility and feel as though he is entitled to some kind of perfect, 100% harmonious love. I think that the key in these situations is to work to respect and understand ourselves, become better at explaining ourselves before we ‘blow up’ but also know that we cannot control everything and in order to learn our life lessons we need to experience love and pain. We need to have our buttons pushed. Only through relating to others can we truly see ourselves… We can perhaps concentrate more energy on facing our fears and on trying not to make another person responsible for how we feel. Others trigger responses within us, but these feelings are only our own – as a result of our past experiences. See that more clearly for yourself, and be open to learning and the right person will stick around.

      • Talia said:

        Abby, that is so well put. I struggle to remember sometimes that my emotions are mine and other people just trigger them. But I also struggle with the concept of living in the NOW. I had been in a terrible marriage for 12 years. Doing whatever I could to have the family I always wanted. Only after those 12 years did I realize that I had been focusing only on HIM – his reactions, what he did and didn’t do… So I did an 180 degrees turn and started looking at myself instead, trying to figure out what makes me happy. After about 3 weeks of doing that I met a man who treated me completely differently to my husband. I felt like a princess in his presence. He was married with 3 kids and I knew it from the start – which is why I went for this friendship in the 1st place. I never thought we’d end up becoming lovers. Nevertheless, we did and even though I try not to blame my ex husband for it, I do feel that if I were satisfied in my marriage, I would never have gone for a married guy. I’m just not that type of person but at the time, I was so starved for affection and attention that I didn’t really think about the consequences. After a while I got emotionally invested. I finally had something I wanted very much and at the same time came the realization that I would never have it for good and that I was “sharing” him with his wife… I was insanely jealous. But the point is, when I was with him, just being in the present moment, everything was perfect. It was only after he left that I would start experiencing those horrible emotions. So, to me, “living in the now” seems…incomplete.

      • Nan said:

        Living in the now has responsibilities. You crossed the line and when you do that, you will never have what you are looking for in a relationship. Vow to never cross that line again…getting involved with a married man, even when you think it will just be a “friendship” because you like each other so much, is a no-no. It will bring much heartache on all the people involved.

  6. Kitta said:

    So once you’ve done this, can it be undone?

    I’m currently trying to win back a guy who I lost through destructive abundance. We got along amazingly well in the beginning, had a great connection and i was relaxed in his company. Then we encountered a situation where he wanted to go home early at 3 different events he was at with me, wanting to leave me there and come pick me up later. He said he was cold or just didn’t like people or venues we were at… but I got really insecure that he might be bored with me. The fear of losing him hit, and the third time it happened i lashed out and got really angry at him for “always bailing on me”.

    We had never really fought before and he was VERY upset by my reaction. He said he felt very disrespected, and that I was ungrateful for his offer to come pick me up later. He became a little distant and then he left me about a month later, saying that he never felt the same level of affection for me after I lashed out and couldn’t explain why. No amount of apologizing or explaining helped.
    We had some space, we are now good friends. He still shows me affection and says he’d “do anything for me”, but “doesn’t want a relationship”. This is the same guy who used to push for a relationship with me. I’d do anything to undo this situation or feel as relaxed around him as i did at the start. I completely adore him, any advice is appreciated!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Kitta. Have you gone through my “What Men Secretly Want” course yet? I would start there if you have not already gone through it once. It really gets at ways you can repair the “disrespect damage” by showing rather than telling (which is possible when you are in “friend” mode and still seeing each other on occasion).


      • Kitta said:

        Hi James, I am reading your course now. Some of what you are saying in it has struck me – you describe what I feel happened to me – my guy felt disrespected when I totally didn’t mean to disrespect him. I’m starting to realise that the fact that he pulled away may have had more to do with how I accidentally made him feel about HIMSELF than how interesting or attractive I was. When we broke up he actually said something like “It’s not that you’re not good enough, it’s just that I want to find someone who better connects with me and respects me more”

        Can you tell me why me getting annoyed with him for regularly bailing on me would have made him feel so profoundly disrespected? He had a huge reaction it, he was majorly upset for a whole day, and basically that one incident wrecked our entire relationship. He was really upset that I didn’t appreciate him coming to pick me up too. I can understand why he’d be a bit annoyed, but what is it about this that was such a HUGE deal to a man that it totally changed his feelings about me? He said he really wanted to feel the same about me as he did before this incident, and tried, and couldn’t.

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi Kitta. It sounds like his perception of events was radically different than your perception of events. Sometimes just one or two assumption-level beliefs can totally change the way we interpret interpersonal situations like this. I recommend you look for an opportunity to get him to describe what he experienced and what he believed it meant when you got frustrated with him. Then ask if he is interested in understanding how you experienced it.

      • Sherri said:

        Kitta, the thing that occurrs to me is that I wonder if you asked yourself how YOU feel a about dating a man with these behaviors? Maybe this is not the kind of guy YOU want (instead of wondering how you can be what HE wants). I used to have a bf who would just go off and leave me stranded at places like the airport, with me feeling completely abandoned, even though he always came back and found me. Over the course of the relationship, I discovered that he was not someone I could depend and rely on in general. Just a different perspective.

      • Susan Smith said:

        Amen, Sherri.

        Kitta, I dated one who did similar things. While I heartily agree with James’s reply above, it may also mean worse things. The guy I’m talking about actually had 4 other girlfriends out of state that he was pursuing, who he kept lined up and waiting in the wings, and was probably calling/texting them when he left my company for awhile. I caught him one time when he was at my house–I was in the other room meeting with a business client and I came out unexpectedly and found him on his ipad on Skype with one of them–he was laughing and just having a fabulous time with her WHILE HE WAS IN MY HOME! What a dirt bag! (He would find ways to go visit them too, while passing the trip off as something else and/or insisting they were just friends.) So don’t dismiss the possibility of things like that, which are easy to pull off with the electronics we have now. The other women didn’t know he was really in the middle of spending the day or evening with me, couldn’t tell he was spending enormous amounts of time with me, couldn’t tell where he was calling/texting from, etc.–he could lie about it and they wouldn’t know the difference. Meanwhile, he had pursued me VERY hard, was ALL but asking me to marry him, had painted glorious pictures of all the things we could do together, had told me that “he loved me so much, he couldn’t even stand it,” and volunteered repeatedly that he would never ever lie to me. This was the worst kind of deceit, and has been very hard to recover from. He’s a very sick puppy and hopefully there aren’t too many of his kind out there, or at least ones who are as slick as he is.

        James, thank you so much for this article. It’s a helpful concept to use as one moves through middle age as well, when it becomes clearer that existence is going to end one of these days, and the temptation is to be discouraged or slow down because of that. I love the last paragraph, in that light.

      • Brynn said:

        YES! This!!! I think you are getting too caught up in wanting the relationship to be everything you thought that it was and everything you thought he was, but that behavior really doesn’t sound like good boyfriend behavior. It sounds like he is completely consumed with his own feelings and never paused to think for one minute how his behavior made you feel. You have valid feelings. Maybe your reaction was disrespectful, I don’t know because I wasn’t there? Or maybe he just couldn’t handle any type of negative feedback about himself because he is such a wounded person. These types of people often deflect their own bad behaviors by turning everything around to be the accusers fault. (narcisstic behavior)

  7. Joan said:

    I’m confused. How does one evolve by always staying in the present moment?

    • Odette said:

      I think you evolve by being extremely present in the moment. When you give the present your undivided attention and appreciation, you filter out all the other “stuff” that is poison and destructive and brings about lots of emotion that is very distracting. That kind of attention also gives you clarity, insight and understanding…. and it is from this that I find that I learn and evolve.

      • Joan said:

        Thanks for your comment, Odette. I think I understand more clearly. By living in the present moment free from fear and “stuff” that could poison a good relationship, keeps the mind free to appreciate the now. This positive mindset trains the mind to move forward from a place of abundance and appreciation and helps the relationship thrive. We can’t change the past or predict the future but having gratitude for the wonderful things in the present moment guides us to embrace life and the relationship more fully with attractive qualities. Wow……lots of great concepts to consider from this article by James and the thoughtful comments.

      • James Bauer said:

        Good discussion.

  8. Thanks this is so clearly and simply explained. It is the reason I don’t even get into relationships I the first place.

    • James Bauer said:

      Wait, what? It’s okay to go after things you want. Just don’t let your desire to keep them wreck the experience of having them in the present moment (which is the only place we ever exist).

  9. maria said:

    I’m in that situation and im trying to get out of it.

  10. Jessi said:

    You are wonderful at what you do! Thank you!

  11. What should one do if one has looked too attached and the other is showing distance and coldness?

  12. Jeh said:

    So grateful for these words right now! You caught me doing those human things.. Great reminder to stay free and keep trusting in the abundance the universe offers. The universe is always working with us for our highest good. Let go, and trust and find joy in the little things. 🙂

  13. Bajamama said:

    Ah Hah! That is precisely what I do….. I do I stop doing that?????

  14. Very awesome. James, yet again you have put words to something I used to experience. To keep relaxed:

    1. I remember that I was fine before the relationship, and will be fine if it ends.
    2. I keep in mind that a relationship has a purpose. When that purpose has been achieved, the relationship often ends so that we both may continue to evolve. In fact, the purpose of living for the greater good in a relationship is a signal to me that it is right.
    3. The relationships that have at their heart evolution individually and together are often long lasting. I try to keep my perspective on the greater good.
    4. Surrender to reality prevents destructive attachments – why resist that which is?
    5. I have everything I need inside myself – no need to look outside

    What do other people do to keep that destructive behavior at bay?

    • James Bauer said:

      Well said, and thanks for contributing valuable tips like these, Aletha!

  15. Radwa said:

    hi Mr , James

    great insight , I think that is what is exactly happening with me right now !

    so , how to be relaxed again & exit this destructive behavior ?

    I always appreciate your insightful replys & tips ,

    thanks .

    • James Bauer said:

      Ah…great question, Radwa. But the answer to that question would be more like a seminar than a quick reply. However, I will say this. Meditation on the present moment (everything you find there, good and bad, thoughts, feelings, environment) is like a powerful boost for me. When I begin to recognize attachment to future scenarios I want, drawing my mind back to here and now (all we will ever have) is always what works best for me.


      • Odette said:

        “Feel the fear and do it anyway”…. a wonderful book that taught me how much I limited myself and how fear that isnt real, actually controls much of your life and has an incredible impact on relationships. Fear of losing stuff, fear of having less, fear of being hurt, fear of being ignored, fear of being disrespected, fear of being in a situation that is difficult to get out of….. the list is endless.
        The question is….. why do you fear these things?

        The question then to ask yourself is….. will I cope if these things actually happen.

        The answer is usually yes…… so feel the fear and do it anyway!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        I agree – a wonderful concept and a wonderful book. Everyone should read it. We CAN do it – and we will survive – just do it anyway. LaLa

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