The Flight From Intimacy by Janae and Barry Weinhold

The Flight From Intimacy by Janae and Barry Weinhold

The Flight From Intimacy summary

Many have heard of co-dependence, but few are aware of counter-dependence. Yet counter-dependence prevents millions of people from getting the intimacy they need and want. Discover what counter-dependence is, what causes it, and how to break free from the behaviors that prevent closeness. 

The Flight From Intimacy notes & quotes

  • People with counter-dependent behaviors appear secure and confident on the outside while feeling fearful and insecure on the inside. 
  • They present an image of self-sufficiency to convince themselves and others that they don't need anyone. 
  • They avoid getting close to others and run from relationships that become too intimate. 
  • Inside, they feel lonely and alienated from others.
  • Counter-dependence is the opposite of co-dependence. 
  • The cause of counter dependence is caused by a failure to complete childhood developmental processes — bonding and separation.
  • Counter-dependent characteristics are so common in the U.S. as to appear "normal."
  • Counter-dependent individuals are just as dysfunctional as co-dependent individuals, though it may not be apparent on the surface.
  • Humans naturally repeat behaviors until the lessons are learned.
  • Neglect, abuse, and emotional abandonment shape a child's brain and internal working model of reality, which persists into adulthood.
  • Studies show that neglected children have more damage to the brain's cognitive functions than abused children, including a lower IQ.
  • The more severe the childhood abuse and neglect, the greater the intimacy challenges in adulthood.
  • Many people with counter-dependent behaviors have little or no awareness of their childhood difficulties.
  • Counter-dependent people have difficulty forming close bonds resulting in loneliness.
  • Bonding between a parent and child occurs when the parent mirrors the child's essence, provides nurturing touch, and attends to the child's needs.
  • The stronger the bond, the easier it is for a child to psychologically separate from a parent. 
  • "Psychological birth is the single most important developmental process for a person to complete."
  • "Object constancy is the ability to hold yourself as an object of worth separate from other people.
  • People with co-dependent behaviors usually develop a deflated sense of self. In contrast, people with counter-dependent behaviors generally have an inflated sense of self.
  • The most essential skill for co-dependent people to learn is to ask directly for what you want. 
  • At the center of our being tend to be traumatic core experiences that we cover with many layers to keep them from being triggered.
  • One of the critical elements of co-dependency is the vital need to attach to "perfect" people who will "save" them.
  • Intimate relationships often trigger early relational traumas, which causes people to avoid intimacy. 
  • Approaching counter-dependence as a disease tends to cause people to identify with it, making it more challenging to break free from counter-dependent behaviors.
  • Most experts believe 96-98 percent of the population suffers from co-dependency. Similarly, some researchers believe 99 percent of the population suffers from counter-dependence. 
  • Most adults in American culture cannot separate nurturing touch from sexual touch.
  • Relationships provide a supportive environment for changing counter-dependent behaviors.
  • Talk therapy alone doesn't transform developmental wounds.
  • Short-term therapy can have a significant positive impact. But longer-term treatment is often necessary for more severe cases of counter-dependency characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder.
  • The external world contributes to and reflects back our inner chaos and confusion.
  • Some parents hold on to children too long, so the child rebels to assert their independence. 
  • Victim consciousness keeps us stuck in counter-dependency.
  • Some people cling to victimhood, allowing them not to take responsibility for themselves. If things go wrong, no one can blame a victim. 
  • "…most of us, as a species and as individuals, are psychologically between two and three years old. We have mature bodies and appear to be adults, but often we relate, react, and behave like small children who believe that we are in control of the world."
  • Needs that go unmet recycle over and over.
  • Counter-dependent people recognize their neediness and try to hide it from others by getting their needs met through covert means.
  • Intimate relationships tend to surface feelings around our childhood wounding and unmet needs.
  • Too many boundaries is the biggest issue for people with counter-dependency difficulties.
  • The more we understand and empathize with ourselves, the easier it is to feel empathy for others.
  • Six primary feelings: Anger, fear, sadness, shame, excitement, happiness, or joy
  • The internal message of counter-dependents: "Take care of yourself and don't trust anyone."
  • Boundaries keep us from crossing into each other's space.
  • The best way to learn boundaries is by watching other people set limits.
  • Physical boundaries help us take charge of our bodies.
  • Counter-dependent people tend to cross others' boundaries with the mindset, "I'll get them before they get me."
  • Individuals with counter-dependent patterns are usually disconnected from their feelings. They learned expressing feelings wasn't safe.
  • "Sexual abuse is one of the most damaging kinds of boundary violations, for it crosses through all the levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It leaves the victim permanently scarred…."
  • Our psychological "shadow" refers to the unwanted aspects that we are unaware of, try to ignore, or see in other people. But our shadow is just our own inner child.
  • By twenty, most of us have split off the most vital parts of ourselves, including our passions, sexuality, creativity, energy, feelings, desires, dreams, and spontaneity. 
  • What's left are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors deemed appropriate by peers, parents, teachers, and other adults, which have little to do with our authentic selves.
  • We learn shame in three ways:
  1. Identifying with shame-filled role models.
  2. Experiencing abuse or neglect.
  3. Betrayal of primal trust when you were shamed as a child.
  • Blame is one of the primary sources of conflict and lack of closeness in a relationship.
  • One aspect of healing from counter-dependence is giving yourself the parenting you never received.
  • Feeling repressed feelings from childhood is one of the most critical recovery tasks.
  • "The source of all major conflicts in relationships between adults can be found in their unmet developmental needs or unhealed developmental traumas."
  • Most avoid conflict, but conflict is a means for growing in intimacy.
  • Counter-dependent people want sex without intimacy.
  • Loss of memory is recognized as a post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Many people in a relationship hardly know each other.
  • Rescuing is when you do something for your partner they can do for themselves, and neither of you asked for it.
  • "One child in a family often plays the "agitator" role and acts out anything that is unresolved, unspoken, or unaddressed in the system."
  •  Parents often project onto their children parts of themselves they don't like.

Related Resources

Here is a list of resources, including authors, books, websites, podcasts, and concepts mentioned in The Flight From Intimacy, which might be helpful for further learning.


  • Dr. Bruce Perry, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Foster cline
  • Campos and Barrett, researchers
  • Krause and Haverkamp, researchers
  • Dr. Bruce Perry
  • Alice Miller, psychologist
  • Susan Forward and Craig Buck, researchers
  • Carl Jung
  • Margaret Mahler, researcher and child psychologist
  • Stephen Johnson, developmental psychologist
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Violato and Russell, researchers
  • Steven Karpman
  • Boris Pasternak
  • Ogden Nash
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Arthur Miller
  • George Vaillant, physician
  • Steve Rollnick and William Miller, researchers
  • Alfred Adler, psychologist
  • Patrick Carnes
  • Rollo May
  • Gregory Bateson, anthropologist
  • Bruce Lipton, cell biologist
  • Lester Brown, environmental expert
  • Carl Rogers
  • Robert Frost
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Louis Nizer
  • Robert Bly
  • Ethel Barrymore, actress
  • James Masterson, psychotherapist
  • Jordan and Margaret Paul
  • Arnold Mindell
  • Erik Erikson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • John Kennedy
  • Martin Luther King
  • Joanna Macy
  • Thomas Berry
  • Andrew Harvey
  • Virginia Satir, author and psychotherapist
  • The Different Drum by M. Scott Peck
  • Albert Schweitzer
  • Dr. Jean Houston
  • Stan and Christina Got

Books and Publications

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Real Boys by William Pollack
  • The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler
  • Conflict Resolution: The Partnership Way by Janae and Barry Weinhold
  • Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child
  • Games People Play by Eric Berne
  • It's Not About the Weight: Attacking Eating Disorders From the Inside Out by Sue Mendelsohn
  • Is It Love or Is It Sex? By Carla Willis-Brandon
  • The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda
  • Memories and Visions of Paradise by Richard Heinberg
Thanks for reading.  You can get more insights into the self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering in my email newsletter. Each week, I share a popular book summary or an in-depth article with practical ideas on personal freedom and showing up as yourself with courage, curiosity, and self-compassion.
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