“I’m in an unhealthy relationship.”


Exclusive Excerpts from “The Wounded Healer” by Andy Chaleff

In This Story: A look glass view into an archetype that holds: “I’m in an unhealthy relationship.”

Sue is in an abusive relationship with no end in sight. Fear paralyzes her from leaving her husband. In this story, we see how she navigates a situation that feels beyond her control. We see how Sue processes deep emotional challenges to find freedom and make tough decisions.

Exploring the Series: Through understanding and reclamation, freedom and radical self-love are found. This series of 20 stories explores the facets of blocks that get in the way of loving ourselves.

“We are all just walking each other home.” 
–Ram Dass


My next session is at a bookstore in Boulder, about an hour north of Denver. By this time, I’ve gotten accustomed to very few people showing up at bookstore sessions. Apparently, asking people to be vulnerable in public, with people they don’t know, isn’t the social norm. 

When I arrive at the poetry bookstore in Boulder, my expectations are low. To my surprise, I see the same woman from the night before. She has driven from Denver to Boulder to see me. “I guess I’m your first stalker,” she says. 

We both laugh. I look around and say, “It looks like we will have the time to ourselves.”

“How could it be that no one would show up for this?” she says. “Oh well, I guess it’s no surprise that I am the only one here. Apparently not everybody has a hard time finding people to share vulnerability with.”

We sit in the corner of the bookstore and spend the next two hours talking. This time we move a bit faster since she already feels more comfortable with some of the victim roles she carries. I press some buttons on issues where she is holding onto beliefs. She repeats how abusive her husband is. She is unkind and unsympathetic in the portrayal of her husband. 

I laugh and say, “You know you’ve never really appreciated your husband for being aggressive and unsympathetic.” 


See What Experts Are Saying Below About “The Wounded Healer: A Journey in Radical Self-Love”, Now Available on Amazon


She looks at me with the same puzzled expression she had a day earlier and says, “No, I guess I haven’t.” 

“I am assuming he has always been that way,” I say. “I imagine that it’s only these last years that you have fully allowed yourself to see it. 

“Your resistance to his aggression keeps you stuck in a common pattern that develops in relationships. Each person brings unconscious emotional triggers into the relationship. When our partner triggers us, we react blindly and defensively. We believe we have free will, but we’re often just reacting to triggers.

“You have been living the pattern over and over, without any space to break out of it. You’ve never even had a chance to see him or let him see you completely. You’ve self-sacrificed for years, and now you blame him for your inability to fully show up as you are.” 

“You’re right,” she says. “I have never really allowed myself to be ‘me’ with him. And I have blamed him for that.”

I reply, “Yes, so who are you now?” 

She admits that she had suffered so much and is incapable of answering that question. “I don’t actually know who I am,” she says. She goes on to explain, “I really am just a byproduct of my environment. I allowed myself to be in this for a long time.” 

“Yes, I can see that. But how does it feel to realize that from this moment forward, you can decide who you want to be? You no longer need to be the woman who self-sacrifices to make other people feel safe and okay.” 

She takes a deep breath and says, “Yes, I see it. I see it.” Then she asks, “How do I make sure to keep this with me after you’re gone?” 

I laugh and say, “Well, you already know how to do that.” 

“What do you mean?” 

I say, “We have spent the past hours talking about it. Whenever you have a judgment towards yourself, or anyone else for that matter, then there’s something there to reclaim.

“For example, ‘My husband is loud, and I love it.’ ‘My husband is a bully, and it’s great.’ ‘I can be loud when I want, and it’s great. I am no longer a victim of anyone. You can be loud and I can be loud. I will not avoid you.’”


Andy is offering his exceptional coaching as a gift to experience this body of work and new book. Any of the free digital workshop dates below:

“Become Your Own Healer Workshop: making peace with your emotional trigger” on Eventbrite.


She uses the practice to move through emotional struggle. Wherever she sees resistance in herself, she moves towards it. “I no longer need to separate myself from others in order to feel a sense of comfort. If I allow myself to actually accept everyone for who they are, without judgment, I can fully allow myself to be whomever I want to be.” Then she breathes out. A deep release. 

I say, “That’s it! As long as you don’t blindly follow the critical voice in your head, you are free to redefine how you operate in the world. You are free.” 

She smiles again and she says, “There’s something I want to show you.” She pulls out her phone, shows me a picture, and says, “This is a piece of land I’m in love with. It’s my husband’s. The one thing I want to make sure of when we get divorced is that I get this land.” She scrolls through her pictures to show me the land. It is picturesque and gorgeous. She tells me all the things she wants to do with the land. 

I say, “What if by being attached to that land, you lost all the freedom you could have to be separated from your husband? Would you rather have that land or the financial freedom that may come as a result of selling it?”

We often get caught in an expectation and attach to it. Once we are attached, it is hard to let go. She has imagined herself living in a house on that land. What she has not yet recognized is that leaving her husband could also mean that this is no longer a reality. 

I ask, “How would it be for you if you realized that letting go of everything was all you needed to do to find happiness?” 

She smiles through tears, “I know you’re right. I guess I just haven’t allowed myself the opportunity to let go of this land.” 

I reply, “You don’t need to let go of it. But you certainly do not want to hold onto it from the start. First, let go of it and then see how it plays a role in your life and if it makes sense. At the moment, that land doesn’t have any utility. It will cost you more to make it habitable than most people pay for an entire home. It could very well be the next thing that keeps your life in a constant state of suffering. 

“If you perpetually need money, where will that leave you? What if the dream of this land was not in living on it, but selling it to live the life of your dreams? How does that feel?”


See What Experts Are Saying Below About “The Wounded Healer: A Journey in Radical Self-Love”, Now Available on Amazon


She smiles. 

She is an environmentalist and her husband makes his money through work with Monsanto. I push my luck and jokingly say, “So if Monsanto came to you and offered you a million dollars for that piece of land, it would be incredible. Monsanto would be giving you an opportunity to live the life of your dreams.” 

She laughs and says, “Now you’re really pushing it. No, I would never sell it to Monsanto. But I understand. I will not self-sacrifice. I am going to think about what I need.” 

With that, we leave the bookstore and she walks me to my car and gives me a big hug. She thanks me and tells me the time we’ve spent together has changed her life. 


Andy Chaleff is one of our heroes in the profound work of healing our world’s heart.

He is an acclaimed author, motivational speaker, talk show host of “A Wonderful Chaos”, a conscious business advisor, and a beloved mentor to many.

He dropped everything and devotionally toured across America for three months holding “Last Letter” healing circles for a wide array of communities to safely explore the depths of their grief, giving people permission to release suffering and move forward with an opened and unburdened heart. 

This recent body of work, “The Wounded Healer”, showcases personal stories of breakthroughs where most people deprive themselves of self-love. We are honored to showcase excerpts from this transformational series. A voice of clarity and wholeness in our transitional time

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