Anthony Robbins’ Poisonous Recipe for Love

by | Feb 28, 2015

Robbins poses a false alternative. Either you go into a relationship exclusively to give, or you go into a relationship exclusively to take.
(CC) Randy Stewart,

(CC) Randy Stewart,

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” ―Anthony Robbins


Can anyone who’s happy in a relationship honestly claim, “I get nothing out of this relationship”? If so, then why are you happy in this relationship? How can you be happy if you’re not getting what you want?

Robbins poses a false alternative. Either you go into a relationship exclusively to give, or you go into a relationship exclusively to take.

Given the choice offered, Robbins — like most conventional moralists — says the better choice is exclusively to give.

But the world is filled with relationships or marriages where one partner exclusively gives. It’s not a pretty picture. The person constantly giving is resentful, angry, bitter and worn out by all the self-sacrifice. The recipient of the exclusive giving is spoiled, entitled, bratty, narcissistic and even abusive.

I can understand looking at the narcissistic entitled brat of a spouse and concluding, “This is no good.” What I cannot understand is concluding that the only other option is the exclusive giver. The giver is fueling and creating the narcissist. To get rid of one, you have to get rid of the other.

Advocates of Robbins’ view will rush to defend it by saying, “That’s not what he really means.” But why does he say it that way, then? If it’s not what he means, then why doesn’t he say it differently?

For example, he might say:

“A relationship is a trade. Each partner selfishly benefits from the other person being who he or she naturally is. Neither side sacrifices. Compromises are sometimes made along the way, but all the compromises are in the service of the principle: I love who this person is, and my life is objectively and emotionally better by remaining with this person.

It’s called mutuality. Mutuality means what I just said — and not what Anthony Robbins, or most moralists or psychologists, claim that love is.

Robbins says you cannot and should not enter a relationship with any expectation about gaining anything. You should not seek to feel good, he insists. So what should you seek? To feel bad?

Why should you, and how can you, seek to not feel good in a romantic relationship? Your emotions won’t let you do this. No matter what your emotions are, your emotions of love are based on an expectation and a hope/belief about the kind of person you’re encountering. “I love you,” quite literally means: “I want you. I am happier around you.” The person being loved likes that you feel this way. To completely divorce personal desires, wants or expectations from the emotions of love is not only wrong; it’s a literal impossibility.

Look at it from the point-of-view of the person being loved. Do you want to be loved only because someone wishes to selfishly serve you, and in no way personally benefits from the fact of your relationship? Is it a slave you want, rather than a partner-in-life/love/sex who challenges and uplifts you? I doubt that you’ll say yes. If you do, then you’re with Robbins. But at least be honest about it: You want a slave and you seek to be the master. Or, perhaps you like being a slave. Own it. Don’t dress it up as Robbins does.

Most will persist in believing that Robbins’ conventional babble is somehow enlightened, progressive or part of the New Age of spiritual thought. It’s not. It’s just the same-old-same-old. It does not work. It cannot work. It should not work.

Love does not mean sacrifice. If sacrifice is part of your love equation, then something is wrong somewhere. You’re better off on your own than with someone for whom you must sacrifice your personal self and your personal happiness. For the same reasons, you’re better off on your own than with someone who cares little or nothing for him- or herself, and lives only to serve. Slavery is not love, not when enforced by chains, and not when enforced by false creeds like Anthony Robbins’ idea that love should not make you happy.

Love means mutuality. Two people whose lives are made better off by the existence of the other are what’s ideal, real and possible. Before you swallow Robbins’ poison or anyone else in the world of self-help or religion claiming the same thing, think seriously about what you’re swallowing.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.


  1. “your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take” is the song that’s constantly sung (ie brainwashing) at Christian church services – even though the biblical parable of the talents instructs that Gods way is the way of trade. If you constantly give, you stop feeling real to the other person (like a cardboard cutout) , hence losing the ability to satisfy their emotional needs. Balance (as in every law of physics and chemistry) is perfection.

  2. I side with Robbins. Giving implies a christian approach, taking is more secularist. I would argue Robbins suggests going into a relationship with an attitude FIRST of giving ‘reciprocates’ the same, allowing for a more enduring foundation while the opposite could be said of the alternative! Obviously no relationship can function let alone endure being either purely one or the other. Robbins suggests giving more than we take, always leaving reserves in the tank to weather the hard times. Simple finance logic…universal application!

  3. Giving is not a Christian approach but rather a Pharisaic approach. Teaching others to “give” whilst hiding the trading principle (sin of omission) is an attempt to get something for nothing. What part of ‘don’t steal’ or ‘don’t covet’ don’t you understand? What part of ‘God hates guile” (ie crafty, cunning deception) don’t you understand? No doubt you voted for ‘pass the wealth around’ Marxbama.

  4. Wealth? I thought we were talking about ‘relationships!’ Two different things. You need to simplify, this is not rocket science and you don’t have to equate everything to politics. ‘Something for nothing?’ Sealing, coveting? Relationships by nature are ‘give and take’. My point was the emphasis we give to either determines the longevity of any relationship! I was sharing my personal opinion not picking a fight with someone with an opposing view! Everyone has an opinion and should be able to share and express that opinion publicly without being labeled a Marxist! I respect your difference in opinion, why can’t you find it in your omnipotent heart to allow me the same? lol

  5. This blog has a ‘reply’ feature for a reason, ie people have a right to disagree with your point of view. Taking on the role of victim, and attacking others with railing accusations (verbal attack – blamer mode) of not respecting others different opinions or name calling, is itself an attempt to stifle debate. Marxists/left wingers/ tyrants suppress dissent. Conservatives by contrast thrive on debate. Why not, they know that they have reality on their side, and appreciate refining of their belief system. Suppressing debate with non stop accusations (verbal attacks) of offending, causing division, harming unity, is a constant song sung in ‘Christian’ churches. I know, I’ve attended these ‘paradise for crooks’ churches. I know their real inner face. They have three faces, the PR face, the face for new comers, and the real face (lower working class gutter morality with biblical window dressing). For instance there is no mention of rights (a taboo), no mention of assertiveness ( a taboo) and no mention of trade (another taboo). No boundaries, no barriers, ownership by need, or ‘thoughfulness’. And a super taboo on negative emotions since emotions are a moral judgment ( ie it’s a ‘crime’ to see the evil right in front of you). These churches are a den of thieves.
    PS, yes you .are at core a Marxist.

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