Bringing Codependency Recovery Pioneer to the UK in 2017

Robert Burney’s Trip to UK canceled

May 27th, 2017 – I have decided to cancel the planned trip to the UK for October.  As we were closing in on finalizing the plans for my trip there, a major change took place in my life as I got custody of my 12 year old grandson.  At first it wasn’t clear if he would be living with me in the fall or not, so I pushed the trip back from September to October based on the possibility that he would still be with me.  Since then it has become clear that he will be living with me – and that taking an 8 or 10 day trip to UK would present significant challenges in getting taking care of him during that time covered.  If we would have had people signing up for the retreat and putting down deposits in the over 2 weeks since we posted the page, that could have impacted this decision.  But since no one has signed up, it seems as if it is part of the Divine Plan to go ahead with the cancelation.  Hopefully we can make this trip to the UK happen at some point in the not too distant future.  Maybe even next summer and I can bring my grandson along.

Robert Burney Trip to UK 2017

Book cover

Robert Burney is an author, spiritual teacher and counselor.  His first book “Codependence – The Dance of Wounded Souls” has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time” and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.”   He is a counselor /coach and Spiritual Teacher whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level.”  His book “The Dance”  is an insightful, clearly written narrative that has helped countless people to understand and heal from the shortcomings of their relationships with self and others.  Robert’s work resonates strongly with those that have been fortunate enough to come across it.

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Formula

A pioneer in the realm of codependency recovery and inner child healing, Robert discovered and developed a pioneering holistic approach to codependency recovery – an inner child healing paradigm – that offers a powerful, life changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

This blueprint can be invaluable to people just starting the recovery / healing process, and is often the missing piece that people who have been healing /  recovering / on a spiritual path for decades have been seeking.  What is unique about the approach is that all of the tools are brought together in a focused system for achieving integration and balance – and even someone who has a very good therapist (or is a very good therapist) right now, can still find it very beneficial to attend one of his workshops.

Creating the Possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Robert Burney

In order to share his experience, strength and hope – and teach others his integration formula – Robert has offered intensive workshops and retreats in the US, Canada, and twice on the Spanish Island of Ibiza, as well as on cruises in the Caribbean.  In spite of having a healthy following in the United Kingdom Robert has not physically presented his work in a similar fashion.

Several years ago Angel Morrison (who had both attended a retreat in Ibiza and been on a cruise with Robert) suggested the idea of working to bring Robert Burney to the UK.  Angel understood the importance of expanding the knowledge of Robert’s work.  Rachel Hawadi who had read Robert’s work (and done phone counseling with him) agreed and the two agreed to volunteer and commit to making this a reality.  This has then given birth to a Facebook Group which aims “To make the possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK” in 2017.

As of February 14th, 2017, initial plans are being formulated.  The goal is to make this trip happen in September 2017.  This page is being created to survey people who might be interested in meeting and/or attending an appearance by Robert, to ascertain what formats people would like to have available and where it would be best to offer these opportunities.

Location

It is assumed that London would be one of the locations – and both Birmingham and Nottingham have been proposed by people interested.  Email us to let us know if you could attend in London or want to suggest another location in the UK.

Formats

In order to make the best use of Robert’s time the following mixture of sessions could be offered during the tour.

  • 1 to 1 sessions: These could either be face to face/Telephone and Skype sessions for those in the UK.   Depending on availability these can be 1 hour sessions.   Given that the unique selling point of this tour is being able to see Robert face to face it would seem that a “face to face” would be the main offering.

  • Weekend Retreat: A residential retreat in a comfortable, peaceful setting starting on Friday with a 6:30 arrival, dinner and a session until 10 pm.  An intensive session on Saturday which would end on Sunday around 4 pm.  It would be important to ensure that those attending have excellent food and a general feeling of being cared for.

  • 5-day Retreat: A transformative retreat for those needing a radical overhaul in a similar setting as the weekend retreat but going deeper with more workshops, 1 to 1 sessions.  The setting will also be comfortable and nurturing.   There should be an additional offering of holistic therapies e.g. massages, reflexology, yoga, deep breathing, walks etc.

  • 1 day Intensive workshops: These would follow the exact same formats that have been offered and could be done both during the day or evening.  More than likely, evening sessions could be more successful in London – although it would need to be for 3 evenings in order for Robert to teach the formula that he teaches in his Intensive Workshops.  There might be a requirement to juggle between different towns in the UK.

Please send us some feedback so that we can ascertain the amount of interest and what people are interested in so that we can know if we can make this possibility manifest this year.  Email us to let us know.

Here is some of the feedback from the Intensive Training Workshops / retreats that Robert has done in the past.

“I found this session to be very useful in seeing the what & the why of “my” reality.  The understanding I have gained gives me hope in my future.  This has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.”

“I really enjoyed Robert Burney’s Intensive Training on inner child work. . .  I had many revelations about my inner child and how I can reparent and stop the critical parent that has followed me my whole life. . . Thank you so much Robert.  You are a truly unforgetable person. So glad I said yes to attending.”

“Exceptionally understandable; very clear.  This was LIFE Changing – I am so thankful.  I would Absolutely recommend it.”

“Robert Burney’s training day was so inspirational and enlightening.  He was loving and warm and presented profound life changing material in a very not intimidating way.  Magical!”

“My life has been much better since I went to your seminar.”

“Brilliant.  Liberating.  So profound it is sometimes ! hilarious  I feel you completely get the dynamics of the human experience and the truth you teach can set people free.”

“It was very empowering, uplifting and gave me new hope.  The information was invaluable.”

“Robert is a very , compassionate intuitive, and intelligent soul who shares his insights to you in such a clear, fun, and poignant way that your life will be forever changed.” –  Testimonial Page for Robert Burney Seminar

Email us to let us know if you are interested.

Sacred Spiral

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site:   A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.  Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.   (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programming ~ Pavlov’s Dog

Dr. Ivan Pavlov, a professor of physiology (the science of organic functions/processes,) won the Noble Prize in Medicine in 1904 for his study of the physiology of digestion. His study of the physiological process of digestion in dogs led him to studying the link between digestion and the autonomic nervous system. He found that he could train dogs to associate the ringing of a bell with food so that they would start salivating – which gave the stomach the message to start the digestive process – every time a bell would ring. Thus the term “Pavlov’s dog” entered language referring to conditioned reflexes that are learned as opposed to innate and natural.

The work of Dr. Pavlov formed the foundation for work of psychologist’s such as B.F. Skinner, who studied and refined his theories and in the process founded the field of behavioral psychology.

This branch of psychology ignores the unconscious which traditional psychoanalysis focused upon, in favor of behavior modification. Behavior modification uses positive or negative reinforcement to train animals or people to change their behavior into that which is more acceptable to whomever has power over that animal or person.

Behavior modification techniques are used extensively in institutions – prisons, mental hospitals, juvenile facilities – to control behavior and attempt to change behavior patterns.

Some years ago, I worked for a period of time in a Boys Home that employed behavior modification techniques. As much as I needed the money at that time, I couldn’t do the work for long (although long enough to be able to afford to buy my first computer.) It broke my heart to see wounded boys being treated like animals who needed to be trained.

Unfortunately in a dysfunctional society, behavior modification has it’s place because the medical and mental health systems are out of balance and dysfunctional.

The Dance

“Our mental health system not only does not promote healing – it actually blocks the process. The mental health system in this country is designed to get your behavior and emotions under control so that you can fit back into the dysfunctional system.” – Text in this color is used for quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

That a person’s behavior doesn’t fit into the accepted norms of the dysfunctional society is identified as the problem that needs to be changed. The underlying causes of that symptomatic behavior are not really addressed in institutions that structure their programs to rely on behavior modification techniques.

Behavior modification can be functional in terms of bringing about a temporary change in a person’s behavior but unless the causes are addressed there is no real fundamental healing that takes place. Psychoanalysis focused upon an intellectual understanding of cause – and it is ultimately dysfunctional because emotional healing is not a component of the work.

“What the researchers were beginning to understand was how profoundly the emotional trauma of early childhood affects a person as an adult. They realized that if not healed, these early childhood emotional wounds, and the subconscious attitudes adopted because of them, would dictate the adult’s reaction to, and path through, life. Thus we walk around looking like and trying to act like adults, while reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of childhood. We keep repeating the patterns of abandonment, abuse, and deprivation that we experienced in childhood.

Psychoanalysis addressed these issues only on the intellectual level – not on the emotional healing level. As a result, a person could go to psychoanalysis weekly for twenty years and still be repeating the same behavior patterns.”

Focusing on symptoms and intellectual understanding while discounting the emotional trauma at the core of the programming, are manifestations of the dysfunctional perspectives of codependent cultures. Emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional cultures do not produce medical and mental health systems that are holistic – that treat the whole person.

I will discuss in more detail in later chapters the emotional component of human beings and the dysfunction that is manifested in human systems – including medical and mental health – at all levels by the false beliefs and masculine feminine imbalance caused by planetary conditions. The main point I want to make in this chapter, is that codependency is an effect of behavior modification.

Sacred SpiralCodependency = conditioned reactive programming

Awakening from the bondage of ego programming

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / Brainwashing / Behavior Modification / Conditioned Reflex

Codependency is a conditioned reflex. It is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Codependence as Delayed Stress Syndrome.)  It is an effect of brainwashing, the result of behavior modification. Codependency is condition, or dis-ease, that is caused by environmental conditions and conditioning rather than a phenomena which is genetic or innate to human nature. (Disease = a disturbance in a natural process, an abnormal condition which disturbs normal organic structural integrity / process.)

The forms of behavior modification that cause codependency are both intentional and unintentional. Parents use some behavior modification techniques in teaching children how to behave. These are not inherently bad or wrong in and of themselves. Some of them may be useful tools in teaching social and survival skills to children. The intentional behavior modification techniques can also be abusive depending upon the intellectual paradigm / beliefs that are providing the standards for judging what behavior is acceptable. (i.e. If a parent believes that children should be seen and not heard they will be abusive in attempting to get the child to behave “properly.” On the opposite end of the reactive codependent spectrum, a parent who does not want to abuse their children in the ways they experienced in childhood, will often go to the other extreme, giving the children too much power and not setting proper boundaries for their behavior – this is a form of unintentional behavior modification and is also abusive.)

It is the unintentional behavior modification that is normally the most damaging. I spoke of the most powerful form of unintentional behavior modification in the third chapter of this work – role modeling.

“The single most important influence in the development of a person’s relationship with their own emotions is role modeling. Mom and Dad were our primary role models for how a male emotional being and female emotional being behave, for how they relate to, and express, their emotions. (As well as for how male and female relate to each other.) The cultural role models that we were exposed to – through books, movies, television, etc., – play an important factor also, but our primary role models were our parents.

The direct messages we got – both verbal (big boys don’t cry, little ladies don’t get angry, there is nothing to be afraid of, etc.) and behavioral (punishment for expressing emotions) – and indirect messages (the ways we interpreted and internalized the behavior of other people – parents, teachers, peers, etc. – as being personal punishment, as being our fault) we got both from our parents and from society play a part in that development, but role modeling has the greatest impact.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 3: Emotional Honesty

“If a culture is based on emotional dishonesty, with role models that are dishonest emotionally, then that culture is also emotionally dysfunctional, because the people of that society are set up to be emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional in getting their emotional needs met.

What we traditionally have called normal parenting in this society is abusive because it is emotionally dishonest. Children learn who they are as emotional beings from the role modeling of their parents. “Do as I say – not as I do,” does not work with children. Emotionally dishonest parents cannot be emotionally healthy role models, and cannot provide healthy parenting.”

Both intentional and unintentional behavior modification experiences play a part in creating codependency. A codependent society – that discounts the emotional and spiritual components of a human’s being and evaluates worth based upon external conditions (money, property, and prestige) and comparison to others (prettier than, smarter than, etc.) within a polarized (black/white, right/wrong) framework that defines wrong as shameful – conditions the people who grow up in that society to feel ashamed of their feelings and their humanity.

We were conditioned to “keep up appearances,” to keep our defectiveness secret. What would the neighbors think? Keep the family secrets – deny the elephant in the living room. (Referring to a metaphor about the power of denial in alcoholic families – denying the effect that alcoholism has on a family is like ignoring an elephant standing in the middle of the living room.)

We saw how our parents denied reality – and how much power they gave to what other people thought (or came from a family that lived the other extreme of rebellion and flaunting outrageous behavior in which case we felt ashamed because our family was different) – and we formed attitudes and beliefs based upon what we were feeling and hearing, seeing and experiencing. The reality we experienced in our homes – which were supposed to be our sanctuaries – was the only reality we knew. Those environments were where we learned how to live life and how to relate to other people. The conditions in our families dictated the behavior modification we experienced and internalized.

“We grew up having to deny the emotional reality: of parental alcoholism, addiction, mental illness, rage, violence, depression, abandonment, betrayal, deprivation, neglect, incest, etc. etc.; of our parents fighting or the underlying tension and anger because they weren’t being honest enough to fight; of dad’s ignoring us because of his workaholism and/or mom smothering us because she had no other identity than being a mother; of the abuse that one parent heaped on another who wouldn’t defend him/herself and/or the abuse we received from one of our parents while the other wouldn’t defend us; of having only one parent or of having two parents who stayed together and shouldn’t have; etc., etc.

We grew up with messages like: children should be seen and not heard; big boys don’t cry and little ladies don’t get angry; it is not okay to be angry at someone you love – especially your parents; god loves you but will send you to burn in hell forever if you touch your shameful private parts; don’t make noise or run or in any way be a normal child; do not make mistakes or do anything wrong; etc., etc.

We were born into the middle of a war where our sense of self was battered and fractured and broken into pieces. We grew up in the middle of battlefields where our beings were discounted, our perceptions invalidated, and our feelings ignored and nullified.

The war we were born into, the battlefield each of us grew up in, was not in some foreign country against some identified “enemy” – it was in the “homes” which were supposed to be our safe haven with our parents whom we Loved and trusted to take care of us. It was not for a year or two or three – it was for sixteen or seventeen or eighteen years.

We experienced what is called “sanctuary trauma” – our safest place to be was not safe – and we experienced it on a daily basis for years and years. Some of the greatest damage was done to us in subtle ways on a daily basis because our sanctuary was a battlefield.

It was not a battlefield because our parents were wrong or bad – it was a battlefield because they were at war within, because they were born into the middle of a war. By doing our healing we are becoming the emotionally honest role models that our parents never had the chance to be. Through being in Recovery we are helping to break the cycles of self-destructive behavior that have dictated human existence for thousands of years.

Codependence is a very vicious and powerful form of Delayed Stress Syndrome.”

Sacred Spiralrelationships horizontal and vertical

It is the nature of organisms of every living species on the planet to survive and propagate. The definition of “organism” is “an animal or plant internally organized to maintain vital functions.” (New Illustrated Webster’s Dictionary, 1992) (I also believe that the planet Earth itself is a living organism – Gaia – but that is another discussion.)

There is some element within all living things that strives for survival. The higher up the evolutionary ladder an organism is, the more mental capacity it displays. This mental capacity – intelligence – gives it the ability to process information and adjust it’s behavior to maximize chances for survival.

The vital difference between human beings and even the most intelligent of animals is consciousness. Consciousness for human beings includes not only a capacity for self awareness – the ability to have a conscious relationship with self – but also a consciousness of something larger than self. This consciousness of something larger than self is what has driven human beings throughout history to seek some kind of supernatural force / higher power which gives meaning and purpose to life beyond mere survival.

“Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. It is very easy for me to write hundreds of pages about any single aspect of codependence and recovery – what is very difficult and painful is to write a short column. No facet of this topic is linear and one-dimensional, so there is no simple answer to any one question – rather there are a multitude of answers to the same question, all of which are True on some level.

So in order to facilitate writing a short column on this month’s topic, I am going to make a brief point about two dimensions of this phenomena in relationship to empowerment. These two dimensions are the horizontal and the vertical. In this context the horizontal is about being human and relating to other humans and our environment. The vertical is Spiritual – about our relationship to the God-Force. Codependence is at it’s core a Spiritual disease and the only way out of it is through a Spiritual cure – so any recovery, any empowerment, depends upon Spiritual awakening.” – Empowerment

“We are not animals – not that there is anything wrong with being an animal – but we have a consciousness of something larger, something beyond ourselves. We have a memory of some other place – of some place kinder and gentler and more Loving.

We are Spiritual Beings.”

As I say in this quote from my book, there is certainly nothing wrong with animals. Animals are a perfect part of the conscious living energy that is The Great Spirit. They are connected to the Spirit just as humans are. Your dog or cat or horse or whatever, may in fact be a part of your Self. Everything is part of the energy of ALL THAT IS. Everyone and everything is experiencing the Spiritual Evolutionary process. All human beings in reality have experienced not only being animals, but being part of the elemental forces of the planet.

“You have experienced being wind, rain, and fire as well as mineral, plant, and animal and can in special moments access emotional memories of those experiences. So you are not crazy for feeling at One with a tree or a bird or a speck on the wall.” – The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy History of the Universe Part I

I am not going to get into metaphysics or quantum physics in this chapter. I just want to make the point, that believing that one can communicate with the spirit of a loved animal – either alive or dead – is not necessarily crazy. That animals spirit may be some aspect of your Self that you have manifested in this life to help your self in your journey of Spiritual Awakening.

I am going address the phenomena of consciousness in relationship to the horizontal human experience – consciousness of self – in the remainder of this chapter and the vertical, Spiritual component, consciousness of Self in the next chapter.

(For anyone who has issues, is triggered, by references to spirituality or a higher power, please stick with me long enough to investigate what I have to say in the coming chapters – or you can check out my web pages Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists or spiritual integration by clicking on these links. It is important to start awakening to how our childhood experiences have impacted our lives, so if the term Spiritual Awakening is causing you problems, think of it as what it also is, an intellectual awakening – an expansion of awareness.)

In a holistic approach to healing, it is vital to address both dimensions for a multitude of reasons. The most important in terms of this chapter, has to do with innate reflexes as opposed to conditioned reflexes. On the horizontal level, the innate programming for human beings carries the same priority for humans as does the innate programming of animals – survival. On the vertical level, survival is not the first priority. Our first priority on the vertical, in relationship to our Source – as Spiritual beings having a human experience – is to reconnect with Love, with our Source.

The survival programming that is innate to our nature as human animals in relationship to the horizontal has been in conflict with our vertical, Spiritual yearning to return home to Love – because planetary conditions caused the illusion that we were disconnected from our Source. This conflict has been at the core of the human dilemma. Planetary conditions have changed in a significant manner in recent history, making it possible for the first time in recorded human history for us to start learning how to integrate the vertical into the horizontal.

“A Transformational Healing Process has begun on the planet Earth. Due to a profound change that has taken place in the energy field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness, resources are now available to us to do healing that has never before been possible in recorded human history. Human beings now, for the first time, have the capacity to directly address the core issues of the human dilemma.”

The purpose of codependency recovery and inner child healing is to clear up our relationship with the horizontal – with self and how we relate to everything and everyone in our human environment – so that we can learn how to integrate the Spiritual into the physical and bring some balance and higher meaning to this human dance we are doing. We are here in body at this time to manifest Love into this human experience. We cannot do that without first learning how to access Love for our self. In order to do that, it is necessary to awaken to how the environments we grew up in conditioned us to live life in a way that is dysfunctional in relationship to the Spiritual / vertical component of our being – in a way that does not work to help us reconnect with Love.

Sacred SpiralAnimals are trained – Human Beings are emotionally traumatized

Dr. Pavlov showed that repeatedly ringing a bell right before feeding a dog could result in a conditioned reflex. That a dog could be programmed in a way that caused an alteration in the dog’s internal processes, in it’s relationship with eating. He also showed that if the dog experienced the bell ringing without being fed enough times, it would revert to it’s normal digestive processes. In other words, conditioned reflexes can be unlearned.

This true in human beings also – which makes recovery from codependency possible. However the process – both of the programming and of recovery from the programming – is much more complicated and complex in human beings.

Human beings are only in part animal. Human beings are a composite of four essential elements / dimensions of being. Those four are components are mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Mind, body, and soul are three parts of a four part equation.

Animals do not have the intellectual capacity to define themselves in relationship to their environment. They do not have consciousness of self. Animals are not capable of self awareness. They live life in reaction to innate and/or conditioned reflexes / instincts.

Human beings have the ability to define self individually in relationship to their environment. Human beings have the capacity to remember the past and envision the future. Human beings have a relationship with self that is defined by their perspective of self in relationship to life, to other human beings, to everything in their environment. The quality of this relationship to both self and external stimuli is characterized as the person’s self worth or self esteem.

An animal does not have a sense of, or capacity for, such a relationship with self. Animals do not have self worth. Animals just are. They live in the moment being perfectly the animal that they are. Their life experiences – the intentional or unintentional behavior modification that life brings their way – can alter, distort, change their reactions to their innate reflexes / instincts but they adapt and go on surviving / maintaining their vital functions.

A dog can be abused so that it cringes and grovels – or so that it attacks and kills – but these are conditioned reflexes that are expansions of / adaptations of / distortions of their innate natural reflexes / instincts. A dog in the right environment can unlearn these conditioned reflexes over time. It does not cringe and grovel because it has low self worth, or attack and kill because it believes it is better than whatever life form it is attacking – it is reacting to distortions of it’s natural instincts. The behavior modification training it has been subjected to, the conditioning that it has experienced, has taught it to react in a certain way to certain stimuli (the ringing bell) in alignment with it’s survival reflexes.

Animals with higher intelligence can also have distinct, individual personalities and a capacity for emotional attachment. Animals have the capacity for emotional reaction.

Dogs are certainly capable of emotional reaction and attachment. And this emotional attachment can be so great that it will sacrifice it’s survival for the person / people it has that attachment to – but this is true rather the dog has been treated lovingly or abusively because part of it’s innate reflex programming is loyalty to it’s pack, which is part of it’s survival programming. Dogs have been selectively bred for centuries to see humans as their pack leaders. Dogs have been bred to be codependent upon humans – to see humans as their higher powers.

(This brings to mind an old joke. God made dogs to be a companion to humans. After a period of time, one of the angels came to God and said, “We have a problem. The human beings experience the dogs behavior and look into the dogs eyes and start thinking that they are god.” God said, “Well, I’ll fix that.” And God created cats.;-)

A dog who was abused as a puppy will cringe and shrink back (somewhat similar to internal feeling which causes the classic codependent form of codependency) or snarl and bite (one of the counterdependent flavors of codependency) when anyone attempts to touch it. This is a conditioned reflex. This can be seen as the result of emotional abuse, but it is not the result of the animal having a damaged self image.

An animal can be emotionally abused, but it does not have a conscious relationship with self that can be affected by that emotional abuse. When a human being is emotionally abused (and any type of abuse – physical, sexual, verbal – is also emotionally abusive Emotional abuse is Heart and Soul Mutilation) it is traumatizing because of the effect it has on the being’s relationship with self. It is because humans have the capacity for self awareness that emotional trauma has such a huge impact on our lives.

For a human being, any kind of abuse is doubly traumatic. The abuse itself – and the effect that the abuse has on the person’s relationship with self, their self image. The effects of childhood abuse are more long lasting and traumatic than the incidents of abuse in and of themselves. The capacity which human beings have for self awareness – a relationship with / perspective of self – dictates that any emotional trauma suffered in early childhood, when we are forming the foundation of our relationship with self, is internalized and integrated into our perspective of self. That core relationship with self then dictates how we relate to life and other people.

Emotional trauma directly affects one’s relationship with self – ones self worth and self image. Emotional trauma is internalized and becomes a part of the emotional, behavioral defense system adapted by the element of a human’s being that is responsible for helping a human survive on a horizontal level – the ego.

Ego – consciousness of self

The ego is the part of our being whose job it is to help us survive. It is a part of our internal structure that is organized to maintain vital functions, that fights for survival. It is the ego that defines our relationship with self according to it’s survival programming and to the conditioning it experienced in early childhood. The ego is the part of us which determines our perspective of self – our self image.

A dog who was abused as a puppy can unlearn their conditioned reflexes by spending enough time in a safe and loving environment. Although a safe and loving environment can be very valuable to a human being who is healing from their childhood wounding – the emotional trauma they experienced because of behavior modification experiences in early childhood – love from external sources is not enough to heal a person’s relationship with self.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child’s experiences, honor that child’s feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.”

Intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior, experiences of a spiritual nature, faith in a Loving Higher Power, can help a person change their relationship with other people and life to a certain degree. It will not however, change the way a person reacts in the relationships that mean the most to them – it will not help them to open their heart to love and to being loved on the most intimate levels. Romantic relationships are the arena where our buttons get pushed, where our deepest wounds are triggered – which activates our emotional defenses.

We are not capable of having a Truly healthy romantic relationship, a Loving emotionally intimate relationship with another human being, until we start healing our childhood wounds in relationship to the trauma we experienced from the people we first opened our hearts to. Our parents were our first loves – and we were wounded in our relationships with them because they were wounded. We internalized and incorporated the conditioning from those initial experiences of opening our hearts to emotional intimacy into our relationship with self.

It is not our relationship with our parents that we need to heal in order to open to Love, it is our relationship with our self – the self image we formed because of our relationships with them. The healing we need to do is internal, in our relationship with self. Our ego adapted defenses to protect us in the environment we grew up in. In order to change our relationship with self we need to change our childhood ego programming.

“Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met – our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs. Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves.”

The ego is not a bad thing, it was just programmed very dysfunctionally in early childhood. Our ego defenses are set up to protect us from the pain and shame of feeling unlovable and unworthy. The subconscious ego programming from my childhood was heavily invested in trying to protect me from the shame of admitting that I felt fear – or any other emotion that I thought made me less of a man.

“The ego is the part of us that is charged with responsibility for our survival. The ego is the seat of the disease of codependence.

Being born into an emotionally dishonest, fear and shame based, Spiritually hostile environments (based on separation rather than connection), caused us to be emotionally traumatized in childhood. In response to that emotional trauma our egos adapted some very dysfunctional programming. (Functional in terms of survival, but dysfunctional in terms of helping us to be happy and at peace within.)

For some of us, the wounding started in the womb where we: incubated in our mother’s fear and shame; or got addicted to adrenaline because of the emotional volatility of our mother’s life; or could feel our mother’s waiting for us to arrive to give meaning and purpose to her life; or felt how unwelcome we were because she had already had too many children and was feeling overwhelmed; etc.

We exited the warm nurturing cocoon of our incubator into a cold, harsh world. A world run by Higher Powers (parents and any body else bigger than us – siblings, grandparents, hospital or orphanage personnel) who were wounded in their childhood. Gods who were not emotionally healthy, and did not know how to Love themselves. Our egos were traumatized – and adapted programming to try to protect us from the pain of emotional trauma that felt life threatening.

The people we Loved the most – our Higher Powers – hurt us the most. Our emotional intimacy issues were caused by, our fear of intimacy is a direct result of, our early childhood experiences. Our lives have been lived in reaction to the intellectual paradigms our egos adapted to deal with emotional trauma.

The part of a child’s brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.) As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking. We did not have the capacity to understand that our Higher Powers were not perfect. We watched their role modeling, experienced their behavior as personal, and felt the emotional currents of our environments – worry, frustration, resentment, fear, anger, pain, shame, etc. – and were emotionally traumatized.

Our ego adapted itself to the environment it was experiencing. It developed emotional and behavioral defense systems in reaction to the emotional pain we experienced growing up with parents who were wounded codependents.

If you have ever wondered why it is so much easier to feel Spiritual in relationship to nature or animals, here is your answer. It was people who wounded us in childhood. It is people who our egos developed defense systems to protect us from.” – Reprogramming our dysfunctional ego defenses

The human left brain (logical, rational) is on one level – in it’s relationship to the ego – a rationalization computer, capable of rationalizing any behavior that the ego deems necessary for survival. (Even if this rationalization results in death. A suicide bomber for instance, is someone whose damaged ego perceives a martyrs death as preferable to a life of feeling like an oppressed and powerless victim. This is a wounded human being who has been forced by cultural programming / conditioned reflexes to channel a great deal of their emotional (and sexual) energy into self righteous victimization – into anger, rage, and religious fanaticism.)  It is possible for wounded humans to rationalize committing monstrous acts because the ego’s damaged programming. “Death before dishonor” is not such a noble cry when you take into account that dishonor for a man could mean admitting fear or crying. When one understands the emotional dynamics of codependency, it becomes readily apparent why emotionally dishonest patriarchal cultures manifest a lot of war and violence.

Our ego desperately fights to hang onto denial and rationalization – because to the ego it feels like a fight for survival, literally a life and death struggle. No one wakes up one morning and says, “Hey maybe I will do some emotional healing today – that sounds like fun.” We start doing this healing work because we are in so much emotional pain. We start doing it because we have hit an emotional bottom where rationalizations and denial no longer work. We start doing it because we have reached a point where emotional dishonesty is killing us – literally.

As long as we allow our ego programming to dictate our relationship with life, we will live life based upon fear.

“This human experience is a process that involves inherent conflict between the continuously changing nature of life and the human ego’s need to survive. In order to insure survival (which is the ego’s appointed task) the human ego needs to define things. What is food? What is friend or enemy? Who am I and how do I relate to them? What can hurt me and what brings me pleasure? It also learned that it is healthy to have a fear of the unknown (it was important to check an unknown cave for saber toothed tigers before strolling into it.) As a result, the ego fears change and craves security and stability. But because life is constantly changing, security and stability can only be temporary.” – Loving and Nurturing self on your Spiritual Path

“Fear of the unknown is a natural, normal part of being human. It has a purpose – and deserves to be honored as something which serves us. But, like our relationship with all the aspects of our being, our relationship with that fear is dysfunctional.

The damaged ego responds to it’s programming by generating fear of the things we learned to fear as a child: making mistakes; doing it wrong; being emotional; speaking our Truth; taking risks; being alone; not being alone; whatever. We then empower the fear by focusing on it, magnifying it, and generally giving it the power to define us and our life – or by denying it, which also gives it power because in denying our fear we are denying our self and reality. Going to either extreme results in the inability to see the situation clearly.

Because our ego was programmed to react to life from fear, negativity, scarcity, and lack (again due to emotional trauma we experienced, and the messages and role modeling of the adults around us) the disease focuses on and magnifies fear – and then it scrambles around trying to find something to cover up and repress the very fear it is generating. The disease blows the fear way out of proportion and then leads us to addictive and/or compulsive behavior as a way of stuffing the fear.

This is the essence of the dysfunction. We live our life reacting to fear, and the shame, that the disease empowers and then “helps” us avoid by causing us to focus on something outside of ourselves as the cause and/or the cure for the core place within us where we feel empty – where we feel unlovable and unworthy.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing – through the fear

Allowing fear and shame to define and dictate our life experience is not a pleasant way to experience being human. Living life in reaction to our conditioned reflexes, to the programming our ego’s adapted in early childhood, does not work to help us relax and enjoy life. It is dysfunctional if we want to become free from the past and have the capacity to experience happiness, inner peace, and Love.

The way I found to start having some freedom from the past is to consciously start changing my ego programing and become willing to heal my emotional wounds. I was led into this conscious healing process by working a twelve step program to help me quit living in the emotional hell that alcoholism had created in my life. I did not get conscious that this was what I was doing until I started my conscious codependency recovery on June 3, 1986 – at two years and five months clean and sober.

Getting into recovery from alcoholism saved my life and led me to codependency recovery. Codependency recovery taught me how to live life in a way that allows me some freedom from the conditioned programming of the past – that allows me to have a great deal of serenity and Joy in my life today.

“It is the process of striving for integration and balance of masculine and feminine within (integration of Spiritual Truth into our relationship with our mental, emotional, and physical levels, balance between mental and emotional, between rational and intuitive, between feeling and thinking) that allows us to find some balance and harmony in our relationships with ourselves and with life. This striving for integration and balance (which working a Twelve Step program brings to an individual’s life – even if one is not conscious that that is what is happening) allows us to reach a place where we can be happy in the moment the majority of the time – happy, Joyous, and free.”

Unfortunately, there are many people in twelve step programs who have not been willing to get emotionally honest with themselves – who are scared of feeling the feelings because they haven’t changed the subconscious programming that keeps them in denial. That denial and emotional dishonesty keeps them stuck in bondage to the ego’s false self image.

One of the reasons that I feel compelled to keep writing more about this process is because there are so many wounded codependents out there who do not know how to do the integration and reprogramming work that will help them open up to Love. Hopefully, some of the ways that I am explaining the wounding and recovery process in this online book will speak to some of those wounded codependents – especially to all of the suffering codependents in Alcoholics Anonymous.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programming ~ Pavlov’s Dog

Sacred SpiralCodependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is available in a subscription area of the Joy2MeU website entitled: Dancing in Light

A special offer for that subscription (as well as for the Joy2MeU Journal) is available on this special offers page.

The first two chapters of this online book are available through my regular website – the first chapter is a response to an online article about codependence that I found very codependent (thus the title of the first chapter): The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!

I have published two other chapters of this work as blogs: Chapter 8 Codependents as Emotional Vampires and Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame.

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is the third book of what I think of as the Wounded Souls Trilogy along with Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls A Cosmic Perspective on Codependence and the Human Condition and Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing. (This is different from The Dance of the Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 – “In The Beginning . . .” which is a Magical, Mystical Adult Spiritual Fable that was in fact the first book I wrote – but have never finished.)

I am going to be preparing Book 2 for publication in the coming months.

My 29th Codependency Recovery Birthday is today, June 3rd ~ excerpt from “The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul”

 I date my codependence recovery as starting on June 3 1986.  As with any milestone, there was recovery that occurred before that – I had been clean and sober for exactly 2 years and 5 months at the point (the story of my early recovery is for another issue) – but this particular day marked a breakthrough in consciousness to a whole new level that changed the direction and focus of my life.  (That day I made a conscious commitment to codependency recovery even though I wouldn’t have known to call it that at that time.)

On June 3rd 1986 I washed my car.  This probably doesn’t sound like an earthshaking event but it was in my life.  I had owned this old pinto for over 2 years at that point.  It had done me great service.  I had bought it for $375 when I was about 3 months sober and had driven it 25,000 miles – and had never washed it.

On that day, I broke through the codependent cycle of “should”ing on myself about the car.  I stopped beating myself up and calling myself a slob, and lazy – and just washed the car.   And then I asked myself “why haven’t I ever washed this car?”

I went home to do some writing and was pretty amazed at what it revealed.  I realized that I was still reacting to life out of the religious programming of my childhood – even though I had thrown out that belief system on a conscious, intellectual level in my late teens and early twenties.  The writing that I did that night helped me to recognize that my emotional programming was dictating my relationship with life even though it was not what I consciously believed.

I realized that the belief that “life was about sin and punishment and I was a sinner who deserved to be punished” was running my life.   When I felt “bad” or “bad” things happened to me – I tried to blame it on others to keep from realizing how much I was hating myself for being flawed and defective, a sinner.  When I felt good or good things happened I was holding my breath because I knew it would be taken away because I didn’t deserve it.  Often when things got too good I would sabotage it because I couldn’t stand the suspense of waiting for god to take it away – which “he” would because I didn’t deserve it.

I could suddenly see that I had been playing a game, with that punishing god I learned about in childhood, for all of my adult life.  I tried not to show that I enjoyed or valued anything too much so that maybe god wouldn’t notice and take it away.  In other words, I could never relax and be in the moment in Joy or peace because the moment I showed that I was enjoying life god would step in to punish me.

I realized that on some level deep within me (I didn’t know anything about inner children or the magical thinking child at that point) that I was afraid that if I washed that car god would notice that I valued it and then cause the car to break down at a time when I didn’t have the money to fix it.

I said to myself – this is no way to live life, I need to change this.  So that night I started to focus on changing the subconscious programming from my childhood.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it – but I was determined to find out.  (That was an act of Love for myself that at the time I wouldn’t have known to call Love.)

Besides the writing I did that night, I also did some reading.  In reading I discovered something that I adapted for my daily prayers.  Only in retrospect, years later did I realize the significance of the change that I made that night.  I had always said the serenity prayer many times a day in my early recovery.  It was like a life preserver that I would cling to all of the times I felt I was drowning.  That night I changed the way I said the serenity prayer by adding another line to the end of it.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage the change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thy will not my will be done.

In adding “thy will not my will” I was aligning myself with serving the will of The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit and surrendering my life to being an instrument of service in the Universal Divine Plan.  I was in actuality working the 3rd step each time I said the serenity prayer in this way. (Working the Third Step)

ACA

The change in focus on that day lead me to read certain books, attend workshops, do much writing, and start to go to Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. (Co-Dependents Anonymous was not founded until October of 1986.)  I was not from an alcoholic family but was starting to realize that my family was dysfunctional and it wasn’t just me who was screwed up.

I went to ACA meetings sporadically.  I used to say that I went to meetings for a year before I ever spoke in one.  Looking back now I find that kind of hard to believe (that it was that long) but it was I am sure at least 8 or 9 meetings over the course of 5 or 6 months before I spoke.  And when I spoke for the first time what I spoke about was that I had realized that I had been sitting in the meetings comparing my story to the other peoples – and thinking that they had it much worse than me.  That I didn’t really have any right to speak up because I wasn’t from a raging alcoholic home and didn’t get beaten in childhood.  That was, of course, my disease minimizing and invalidating my own pain.  The other thing that I mentioned is that I had realized while sitting in that particular meeting that I had spent my whole life thinking that I was a frog who needed a princess to kiss me before I could become a prince – and that that wasn’t true, that I was a prince already.  (Several years later when I moved from Taos New Mexico to California I answered my door one day to find a large stuffed frog sitting on my doorstep.  It was a going away gift from my CoDA group in homage to the frog self image that I talked about in meetings.)

So for over a year, I was pursuing my healing of the childhood programming on mostly an intellectual level.  It wasn’t until I set myself up to feel abandoned and betrayed on my birthday (one of my old regular patterns for special days) that I became willing to do the emotional healing – and started actively pursuing emotional healing (another story for another issue).

The Psychic

In the meantime, in the late summer of 1986, I had gone to work in an Chemical Dependence Treatment Center.  I had been pursuing an acting career in Hollywood since 1975 and had been very good at being a suffering artist.  It was a perfect path for both my codependence (suffering I learned real well from the church that taught me I was a sinner who was here to do penance for being born a sinful, shameful human) and my alcoholism (everyone knows that artists need to drink a lot and do drugs).  As a result of doing Positive Affirmations and consciously trying to reprogram my subconscious beliefs I surrendered to going to work in a treatment center and giving up the suffering artist types of jobs that I had done for years.

I first went to work as a counselors assistant and then was later promoted to therapist because I was qualified for the higher position. I had received my Masters Degree many years before but had abandoned using the knowledge and skills I had in order to pursue my acting career.

For my birthday in 1987 (the one that sparked my pursuit of emotional healing because I set myself up to be abandoned) I received a number of cards at work.  Someone at work said “You should let Marianne read your cards.”  “Read birthday cards?” I responded very skeptically.  “Yes, she reads cards.”  “Birthday cards?!?!?”

To say I didn’t take this seriously is a gross understatement.  Marianne was someone who worked on our unit part time and the next time I saw her I mentioned it to her in a very humorous way.  She responded “Yes, I am a psychic and I read birthday cards among other things.”

This was all a big joke to me.  I had never heard of such a thing and said so – and I would kid around with her about it the next few times I saw her.  I had gotten a message earlier in my recovery that it wasn’t part of my path to pursue experience of a psychic or paranormal nature.  Not that I didn’t believe that there was Truth in many supernatural type of phenomena – just that I was supposed to focus on tuning into the Truth within me and not be looking outside for the answers.  The thing I used to say when someone would try to get me to go see a psychic or have a tarot reading done or something of that nature was “If I am supposed to get a message from a psychic the Universe is quite capable of bringing the psychic into my path.  I don’t have to go looking for answers in that way.”

Well, that is what happened.  Marianne came storming into work one day and said to me “I have to see you right now!”  We went into a private room and she proceeded to read my mail for me – that is tell me all the things that were going on inside of me that I wasn’t talking to anyone about.  I was quite shaken about how much she knew about the secrets I was carrying and the feelings I was hiding.  As I was sitting there in shock at her revelations, she asked to see my birthday cards.  I still had them at work in order for her to read them one day.  I gave them to her and she looked them over.  She pointed out that every birthday card I had gotten that year had at least one musical note on it.   She said that was “about the song that you are becoming.”

A few weeks later I made an appointment to see her for a paid psychic reading.  One day before the reading I was walking down a street in Studio City where I lived and a song came to me.  I knew that when she had said “the song I was becoming” she had not meant a literal song but was rather referring to my Spiritual Path.  But the song that came to me was so perfect that I couldn’t wait to tell her.   When she came over I started speaking the words of the song to her and made one of those “Freudian” slips that was absolutely perfect.  I said:

“Jeremiah was a ‘boy’frog, was a good friend of mine.

Never understood a single word he said but he always had some mighty fine wine.

I always helped him drink his wine.”

A boy who believed he was a frog that needed a princess was who I was.  And I had never listened to much of what my inner child said to me – had pummeled that part of me into submission and at the same time I let that child’s wounds run my life.  I was never much for wine but I drank whatever was available.

So, it was a perfect song for me.  And the chorus is:

Joy to the world.  All the boys and girls.

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

and Joy to you and me.

Out of the intervention of this psychic angel named Marianne a new level of consciousness was opened, and a new direction to steer was revealed.  At a time when I had never experienced what I know now is True Joy in my life – I was given the message that my path was about Joy and carrying a message of Joy to you and me.  The name of my company was born that day – even though I had no idea there would ever be a company.

In that same session, Marianne channeled a message to me from my inner child.  My inner child said to me that I was resisting because of I was so terrified of all the pain and rage that I was carrying and that what I couldn’t see was all of the Joy and Love and Peace that was on the other side of that pain and rage.  The channeled message from my inner child ended with my inner child saying that who he was – was my wounded soul.

That reference to my inner child being my wounded soul along with the musical theme of the song I was becoming planted the seed that with the help of some Saguaro cactus (part of the 30 Days in treatment story mentioned just below) was to grow into becoming the title of my book “The Dance of Wounded Souls.”

The Path

My pursuit of emotional healing lead me into depths of pain and rage that I would never have thought myself capable of surviving.  It led me into a 30 day treatment program for Codependence that was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.  (As I mentioned above the pursuit of emotional healing is a story for another issue as is the 30 days in treatment.)

After that wondrous treatment experience I was lead to move from LA to the place where I had been in treatment – Tucson, Arizona.  Being in Tucson lead me to Sedona where the most frightening and freeing experience in my life took place – as I got to confront evil manifest and consciously take a small part in returning the Energy Field of Collective Human Emotional Consciousness to positive alignment with the Truth of a Loving God-Force. (This is talked about in the Trilogy and in another issue.)

Then I was lead to Taos New Mexico where I started writing the Trilogy and learning how to access the Mystical Truth that I was to be a messenger of in this lifetime.  Before I had ever been to Taos I knew that I was going to be there about a year before going someplace “where the mountains and ocean come together.”  That place was Cambria California where in 1991 I first gave the talk that was to become the book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.  (Miracles)

After two years on the coast I was led back to Taos for some more Karmic settlement and learning before returning to California in the winter of 1994-95 to raise the money to publish my book.  (Leap of faith and miracles in another issue.)

Joy2MeU

After publishing my book and returning to Cambria, I wanted to get a personalized license plate for my car that said Joy to You & Me – in the appropriate number of letters of course.  But it was not available.  What was available was Joy2Me U – so that is what I got.  At the time I understood the message from the Universe.  Joy to me and you is healthier for a recovering codependent than you and me.  I need to heal myself first, protect myself first, nurture myself first and foremost before I can be of service to you in a healthy way.  I am in the process of learning to Love myself – and it is an incredible gift that through doing what I need to do to learn about Love, and sharing my process with you – I get to be an instrument for helping you remember who you are and learn to Love your self first.

On February 28th of 1998 I uploaded the first, very crude pages of my web site.  When I signed up with my server I choose the same letters as my license plate for my screen name – which also then became part of my web site address.  In February of 1999 I purchased my own domain and launched Joy2MeU.com.

So that is the story of where the name of my company “Joy to You & Me” came from and how it transmuted into Joy2MeU.

Next month, I will share a story from another part of my journey.

With Wishes of Joy & Love to Me and You,

Robert

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Joy2MeU Journal

This story is part of the Premier Issue of the Joy2MeU Journal published online in April 1999.  The Joy2MeU Journal is a body of Robert’s writing compiled between that time and the end of 2004.  To learn more about the Journal see the Journal Information page.  Here is a page that currently includes special offers for books, subscriptions and MP3 downloads.

June 3rd, 2015 – As I say in the article above, on this day 29 years ago I realized that I was living my life beating myself up when things looked and felt bad in my life and holding my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop when things felt and looked good.  I was afraid to show I enjoyed or valued anything lest it be taken away.  A Truly horrible way to live that is what codependency created in my life.  The commitment I made on that day 29 years ago led me to discover a formula for inner healing that is the exact opposite of how my codependency worked.  I learned that when things looked and felt bad that was the time that I most needed to nurture and love myself – and that when things felt and looked good that I should enjoy the heck out of it, because this too shall pass.  Everything changes and gets different in life – that is the nature of life.  It wasn’t personal punishment for being shameful and sinful as I had been taught.

The  commitment I made that day led me to my life’s work – teaching other people how to be more loving to themselves and learn to enjoy life more.  This is what I teach people in my books and telephone counseling and Intensive Training Workshop.  I am eternally grateful that my Higher Power gave me the courage and willingness to follow my path where it has led me – and to be able to help other people by sharing my recovery process – by sharing my experience, strength, and hope. ~ RB

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Fear of Intimacy – the wounded heart of codependency ~ Fear of Abandonment, Betrayal, and Rejection

Fear of intimacy is at the heart of codependency.  We have a fear of intimacy because we have a fear of abandonment, betrayal, and rejection.  We have a these fears because we were wounded in early childhood – we experienced feeling emotionally abandoned, rejected, and betrayed by our parents because they were wounded.  They did not have healthy relationship with self – they were codependents who abandoned and betrayed themselves – and their behavior caused us to feel unworthy and unlovable.

“We exited the warm nurturing cocoon of our incubator into a cold, harsh world.  A world run by Higher Powers (parents and any body else bigger than us – siblings, grandparents, hospital or orphanage personnel) who were wounded in their childhood.  Gods who were not emotionally healthy, and did not know how to Love themselves.  Our egos were traumatized – and adapted programming to try to protect us from the pain of emotional trauma that felt life threatening.

The people we Loved the most – our Higher Powers – hurt us the most.   Our emotional intimacy issues were caused by, our fear of intimacy is a direct result of, our early childhood experiences.  Our lives have been lived in reaction to the intellectual paradigms our egos adapted to deal with emotional trauma.

The part of a child’s brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.)  As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking.  We did not have the capacity to understand that our Higher Powers were not perfect.  We watched their role modeling, experienced their behavior as personal, and felt the emotional currents of our environments – worry, frustration, resentment, fear, anger, pain, shame, etc. – and were emotionally traumatized.

Our ego adapted itself to the environment it was experiencing.  It developed emotional and behavioral defense systems in reaction to the emotional pain we experienced growing up with parents who were wounded codependents.

If you have ever wondered why it is so much easier to feel Spiritual in relationship to nature or animals, here is your answer.  It was people who wounded us in childhood.  It is people who our egos developed defense systems to protect us from.

I have told people for years, that the only reason to do inner child healing work is if we are going to interact with other people.  If one is going to live in isolation on a mountain top meditating, it will be fairly easy to feel Spiritually connected.  It is relating to other human beings that is messy.” – Reprogramming our ego defenses

Relating to animals or nature is safe because we will not be judged.  Our pet will not abandon us because we are inherently defective.  Nature will not reject us because we are personally shameful.  People will – or at least it feels like that is what has happened in the past.

The Truth is that the ways that our parents treated us in childhood did not have anything to do with who we are – was not really personal.  They were incapable of seeing themselves clearly.  They certainly could not see us clearly – could not see our unique individuality from a perspective that allowed them to honor and respect us as beings separate from them.   Their perspective of us was filtered through a prism of their own shame and woundedness.  They projected their hopes and dreams, their fears and insecurities onto us.  They saw us as the fix for their feelings of unworthiness, an extension of them that gave their life meaning – or perhaps they saw us as an inconvenience and a burden holding them back, preventing them from making their dreams come true.  For some of us, a parent(s) was so caught up in their alcoholism or survival drama or career that most of the time they didn’t see us at all.

And both our parents and society taught us very clearly – through direct messages and role modeling – to be dishonest.  Our parents taught us that keeping up appearances, worrying about what the neighbors think, was more important than our feelings – because it was so important to them.  Or, some of us experienced a parent who went to the other extreme, where they acted like they didn’t care what anyone thought – which caused us to feel embarrassed and ashamed of their behavior because it was so out of balance, and caused us to worry about what the neighbors thought.  They taught us to give power to other people by wearing masks and keeping secrets.

Even more importantly, our role models taught us to be emotionally dishonest.  Because it wasn’t safe to be emotionally honest we lost our self – did not know how to be emotionally intimate with our self, and instead constructed a false self image to survive.  We learned to wear different masks for different people.

As children we were incapable of seeing ourselves as separate from our families – of knowing we had worth as individuals apart from our families.  The reality we grew up in was the only reality that we knew.  We thought our parents behavior reflected our worth – the same way that our codependent parents thought our behavior was a factor in rather they had worth.

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“We live in a society where the emotional experience of “love” is conditional on behavior.  Where fear, guilt, and shame are used to try to control children’s behavior because parents believe that their children’s behavior reflects their self-worth.

In other words, if little Johnny is a well-behaved, “good boy,” then his parents are good people.  If Johnny acts out, and misbehaves, then there is something wrong with his parents.  (“He doesn’t come from a good family.”)

What the family dynamics research shows is that it is actually the good child – the family hero role – who is the most emotionally dishonest and out of touch with him/herself, while the acting-out child – the scapegoat – is the most emotionally honest child in the dysfunctional family.  Backwards again.

In a Codependent society we are taught, in the name of “love,” to try to control those we love, by manipulating and shaming them, to try to get them to do the right things – in order to protect our own ego-strength.  Our emotional experience of love is of something controlling:  “I love you if you do what I want you to do.”  Our emotional experience of love is of something that is shaming and manipulative and abusive.

Love that is shaming and abusive is an insane, ridiculous concept.  Just as insane and ridiculous as the concept of murder and war in the name of God.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Rather our parents made us their reason for living – which is a form of toxic love in which the child is the drug of choice (causing a child to feel responsible for an adult’s self worth is emotionally incestuous and abusive);  or a burden to be carried, the scapegoat they blamed for ruining their lives;  or treated us like we were an inconvenience in the moments when they even seemed aware of us;  it wounded us.  We felt betrayed – by our own unworthiness, because we were incapable of knowing they were not perfect. We felt abandoned and rejected by the gods in our lives.

We were wounded in our first relationships with other people.  We were tiny, innocent, little beings who were completely dependent upon wounded people who did not Love themselves – and therefore were incapable of Loving us in a healthy way.

Feeling unlovable to the gods in our lives as tiny children was life threatening.  It felt life threatening.

Our fear of intimacy is based upon painful, traumatic experience.

in to me see

The simplest and most understandable way I have ever heard intimacy described is by breaking the word down: in to me see.  That is what intimacy is about – allowing another person to see into us, sharing who we are with another person.

Sharing who we are is a problem for codependents because at the core of our relationship with ourselves is the feeling that we are somehow defective, unlovable and unworthy – because of our childhood emotional trauma.  Codependency is rooted in our ego programming from early childhood.  That programming is a defense that the ego adapted to help us survive.  It is based upon the feeling that we are shameful, that we are defective, unworthy, and unlovable.  Our codependent defense system is an attempt to protect us from being rejected, betrayed, and abandoned because of our unworthy, shameful being.

We have a fear of intimacy because we were wounded, emotionally traumatized, in early childhood – felt rejected and abandoned – and then grew up in emotional dishonest societies that did not provide tools for healing, or healthy role models to teach us how to overcome that fear.  Our wounding in early childhood caused us to feel that something was wrong with our being – toxic shame – and our societal and parental role models taught us to keep up appearances, to hide our shamefulness from others.

Toxic Shame – defective, unlovable

It is very important in recovery to start making a distinction – drawing a boundary – between being and behavior.  Growing up in dysfunctional societies taught us to equate our worth – and judge the worth of others – based upon external appearances.   We experienced love as conditional on behavior.  Someone who behaves badly – i.e. not the way we want them to – is a bad person.  Someone who behaves the way we want them to is a good person.

It is very important to stop judging our worth based upon the dysfunctional standards of societies that taught us it was shameful to be imperfect human beings.

“When I use the term “judge,” I am talking about making judgments about our own or other people’s beings based on behavior.  In other words, I did something bad therefore I am a bad person; I made a mistake therefore I am a mistake.  That is what toxic shame is all about:  feeling that something is wrong with our being, that we are somehow defective because we have human drives, human weaknesses, human imperfections.

There may be behavior in which we have engaged that we feel ashamed of but that does not make us shameful beings   We may need to make judgments about whether our behavior is healthy and appropriate but that does not mean that we have to judge our essential self, our being, because of the behavior.  Our behavior has been dictated by our disease, by our childhood wounds; it does not mean that we are bad or defective as beings.  It means that we are human, it means that we are wounded.

It is important to start setting a boundary between being and behavior.  All humans have equal Divine value as beings – no matter what our behavior.  Our behavior is learned (and/or reactive to physical or physiological conditions).  Behavior, and the attitudes that dictate behavior, are adopted defenses designed to allow us to survive in the Spiritually hostile, emotionally repressive, dysfunctional environments into which we were born.”

At the core of codependency is toxic shame – the feeling that we are somehow inherently defective, that something is wrong our being.

[And I want to make note here, that anytime I talk about shame, rather I use the adjective toxic or not – I am talking about feeling toxic shame in relationship to “being,” feeling personally defective.  Some people in the field, notably John Bradshaw, make a distinction between toxic shame and healthy shame.  I find it much simpler, and more useful, to use shame in reference to “being” and guilt in reference to behavior.  I believe there is healthy and unhealthy guilt (as I talk about in Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2) but any time I use the term shame I am talking about toxic shame.  (The example that I have heard Bradshaw use of what he calls healthy shame, is that it is what keeps us from running down the street naked.  I find that not only blatantly a judgment of behavior – but also based upon cultural standards that are not necessarily aligned with any kind of Spiritual Truth.  Some of John’s Jesuit background showing I think. ;-)]

The emotional trauma we suffered in early childhood created within us the feeling of toxic shame.

“We do not need fixing.  We are not broken.  Our sense of self, our self perception, was shattered and fractured and broken into pieces, not our True Self.

We think and feel like we are broken because we were programmed backwards.

We are not broken.  That is what toxic shame is – thinking that we are broken, believing that we are somehow inherently defective.

Guilt is “I made a mistake, I did something wrong.”

Shame is “I’m a mistake, something is wrong with me.”

Again, the feelings of that little child inside who believes that he/she deserves to be punished.”

At the foundation of our relationship with our self – and therefore with other people and life – is the feeling that we will die if we reveal ourselves to other people, because then they will see our shameful self.  I felt deep within me (in those rare instances of breaking through my denial and blaming to a moment of honest clarity), that if I let anyone see who I really was, they would run away screaming in horror at the grotesque, deformed, shameful being that I was.

Our lives have been dictated by an emotional defense system that is designed to keep hidden the the false belief that we are defective.  We use external things – success, looks, productivity, substances – to try to cover up, overcome, make up for, the personal defectiveness that we felt caused our hearts to be broken and our souls wounded in childhood.  And that personal defectiveness is a lie.  That feeling of toxic shame is a lie.

It was so painful that we had to lie to ourselves about it.  We were forced to be emotionally and intellectually dishonest with ourselves by the codependent defenses we adapted.  We had to learn how to live in denial of the pain and shame at the core of our relationship with ourselves.  Codependency is a vicious form of Delayed Stress Syndrome, of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Codependence as Delayed Stress Syndrome)  The emotional trauma caused us to disassociate – to not be present in our own skins in a conscious way – and to rationalize and deny our emotional experience of life.  We built up a dishonest self image to try to convince ourselves that we had worth based upon some comparative external factors:  looks, success, independence (the counterdependent rebel), popularity (people pleasers), righteousness (better than others, right to their wrong), or whatever.  That false self image was not completely dishonest because it was formed in reaction to some basic aspects of who we Truly are – but it was a twisted, distorted, polarized perspective of our self adapted in response to toxic shame for the purpose of giving us some ego strength, some reason we could feel better than others.

That false self image, the masks we learned to wear, is something we invested a lot of energy into convincing ourselves was the truth.  But deep inside, in our moments of insight and clarity, we knew we were hiding a shameful secret.  Often we got that toxic shame about our being confused in our memories with some behavior in our childhood that felt shameful.  It is very common for us to have a secret that involves a way in which we were abused – physically, sexually, etc. – that we go to great pains to avoid because we associate the feeling of toxic shame with that incident and think it was our fault.

We do not want other people to see in to us, because then they will learn our shameful secret.  We have a fear of intimacy because of the false belief that our relationship with our self is based upon.

We have spent our lives trying to protect ourselves from a lie about who we are.  We have spent incredible energy in our lives trying to keep the toxic shame hidden.  The secret that is killing us and has made our lives miserable, the secret we have lived in reaction to – is a lie.  We have been compulsively – because we were reacting to what felt like a threat to survival – living our lives in reaction to our need to keep secret who we feel we really are in the deepest part of our being.

“Because as small children we did not have any perspective or discernment (prior to the age of reason, which occurs about 7 as our brains develop) we were incapable as viewing our parents as anything other than perfect Higher Powers.  Our God and Goddess.  Because our Higher Powers were wounded and did not know how to Love self, we were wounded and got the message that something must be wrong with us.  Toxic Shame.

That shame is toxic and is not ours – it never was!  We did nothing to be ashamed of – we were just little kids.  Just as our parents were little kids when they were wounded and shamed, and their parents before them, etc., etc.  This is shame about being human that has been passed down from generation to generation.

There is no blame here, there are no bad guys, only wounded souls and broken hearts and scrambled minds.

Out of our codependent relationship with life, there are only two extremes: blame them, or blame me.  Buy into the belief that they are to blame for what I am feeling – or I am to blame because I am a shameful unworthy being.   The emotional pain of feeling unlovable to our parents – which is a reflection of unbearable anguish of feeling separated from The Source – can feel like a bottomless pit of agonizing suffering.   At the core of our wounding is the unbearable emotional pain resulting from having internalized the message that God – our Source – does not Love us because we are personally defective and shameful.

Our addictions, compulsions, and obsessions;  our continuing quest to reach the destination, to find the fix;  our inability to be present in the now through worrying about the future or ruminating about the past;  are all tools that we used to avoid the emotional pain.  Our behavior patterns and dysfunctional relationships (of all kinds, with other people, with money, with our gender and sexuality) are symptoms.  Codependence is a defense system that was adapted by our damaged egos to try to avoid falling into the abyss of shame and pain within.

We formed our core relationship with self, other people, and life based upon this feeling of toxic shame.” – Chapter 2 of Attack on America – A Spiritual Healing Perspective

Because of the feeling that we were somehow shameful, were unworthy and unlovable, we adapted defenses to protect us.  Those defenses caused us to keep recreating the emotional dynamics of our childhood.

Repeating Behavior Patterns – looking for love in all the wrong places

Codependence is doubly traumatic.  We were traumatized as children – and the defenses we adapted to protect us caused us to traumatize ourselves as adults.  We have experienced getting our hearts broken, our hopes and dreams shattered, again and again.  We abandoned, betrayed, and set ourselves up to feel rejected over and over again.  (Even those “family hero” types who achieve external “success” and financial abundance have to keep running from distraction to distraction and finding someone to blame so that they can deny the hole they feel within themselves.  Achieving some material success makes it much easier to maintain the illusion of ego control and stay in denial of one’s wounded soul.  Being rich and famous can be a huge block to true emotional intimacy.)

As long as we are reacting unconsciously to our childhood emotional wounds and intellectual programming, we keep repeating the patterns.  We keep getting involved with unavailable people.  We keep setting ourselves up to be abandoned, betrayed and rejected.  We keep looking for love in all the wrong places, in all the wrong faces.  Is it any wonder we have a fear of intimacy?

“Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child.  Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met – our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs.  Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside.  Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves.

Some people, when they first get into Recovery, when they first start on a healing path, mistakenly believe that they are supposed to take down their defenses and learn to trust everyone.  That is a very dysfunctional belief.  It is necessary to take down the dysfunctional defense systems but we have to replace them with defenses that work.  We have to have a defense system, we have to be able to protect ourselves.   There is still a hostile environment out there full of wounded Adult Children whom it is not safe to trust.

In our disease defense system we build up huge walls to protect ourselves and then – as soon as we meet someone who will help us to repeat our patterns of abuse, abandonment, betrayal, and/or deprivation – we lower the drawbridge and invite them in.  We, in our Codependence, have radar systems which cause us to be attracted to, and attract to us, the people, who for us personally, are exactly the most untrustworthy (or unavailable or smothering or abusive or whatever we need to repeat our patterns) individuals – exactly the ones who will “push our buttons.”

This happens because those people feel familiar.  Unfortunately in childhood the people whom we trusted the most – were the most familiar – hurt us the most.  So the effect is that we keep repeating our patterns and being given the reminder that it is not safe to trust ourselves or other people

Once we begin healing we can see that the Truth is that it is not safe to trust as long as we are reacting out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of our childhoods.  Once we start Recovering, then we can begin to see that on a Spiritual level these repeating behavior patterns are opportunities to heal the childhood wounds.

The process of Recovery teaches us how to take down the walls and protect ourselves in healthy ways – by learning what healthy boundaries are, how to set them, and how to defend them.  It teaches us to be discerning in our choices, to ask for what we need, and to be assertive and Loving in meeting our own needs.  (Of course many of us have to first get used to the revolutionary idea that it is all right for us to have needs.)”

As children we were victims – as adult we kept repeating the behaviors we learned as children – in one extreme or the other.  The people in our lives were actors we unconsciously cast in roles that would recreate our childhood wounding so that we could try to heal it – try to get in right this time.  We were energetically drawn to, and attracted to us, the people who would treat us in ways that felt familiar – because on some deep level we believed that is what we deserved.  If our own parents could not love us, then we must not deserve to be loved.

In my Update Newsletter for October 2000, I talked about a mother and daughter that I had done some work with.  After an initial period of intensive counseling for both of them, we had evolved into counseling sessions several times a year with one or both of them as they had opportunities for growth in their recovery.  The week that I was writing this article,  I had a session with the mother.  Her daughter had once again engaged in behavior that was dangerous and life threatening.  She was very upset about an incident that her daughter had experienced – and was putting a lot of energy into blaming the daughter’s boyfriend.

She kept saying how controlling, possessive, and abusive this boyfriend was and how she just couldn’t understand it.  She felt that her daughter had chosen the boyfriend over her own mother and out of the deep hurt she was feeling she was blaming.  She mentioned several times how she had said to her daughter, “What is wrong with you!”   Then she would swing to the other extreme and say, “Maybe I failed somehow as a parent.”  She was caught up in codependent polarized reaction to her fear, pain, and shame.

After letting her vent for a long period of time, I brought her back to focusing on her Spiritual belief system and applying the Serenity prayer to what was happening.  I reminded her that the reason her daughter was in a relationship that was controlling, possessive, and abusive was because that was the only type of relationship the daughter was familiar with.  I reminded her that she, in her concern and love for her daughter, out of her fear of her daughters self destructive behavior, had been controlling, possessive, and abusive.  I pointed out that it was abusive to say something like, “what is wrong with you.” – because it equates behavior with being.  Doing something “wrong” does not mean there is something wrong with us.  The daughter was in fact, just repeating her codependent patterns – and to me, her behavior was not only understandable, but very predictable.  (And repeating the patterns was not a sign that she had not grown.  This was a new opportunity for growth at a higher level of consciousness for her – a perfect part of her growth process, not some regression or slip into old behavior.  We make progress gradually.)

Once I got her to stop reacting to her shame, fear, and hurt, and to stop viewing the situation from a polarized black and white, right and wrong, perspective – then she was able to get back to her recovery and start using the tools she has learned to help her let go of things she can’t control and focus on her inner process which she can have some degree of control over in a Loving way.

The reality of codependence is that we get in relationship with people who feel familiar – people who will repeat our childhood emotional dynamics.  We keep getting involved with people with whom we can recreate the emotional dynamics from our childhood in some way.

A large part of the tragedy of codependency – the insidiously dysfunctional nature of the disease – is that by repeating the patterns we keep setting ourselves up to be abandoned and rejected.  To feel betrayed by our own unworthiness.  To reinforce the lie that we are inherently, and personally, shameful and unlovable.

I spent most of my life being the victim of my own thoughts, my own emotions, my own behaviors.  I was consistently picking untrustworthy people to trust and unavailable people to love.  I could not trust my own emotions because I was incapable of being honest with myself emotionally – which made me incapable of Truly being honest on any level.”

We are attracted to people who are unable to meet our needs, who are unavailable on some level, as a protection from allowing ourselves to get close to someone who could be available to us – because then they would find out how shameful we are and reject us.  Allowing someone to see into us, to see who we really are, feels to the disease like the last thing we want to do – and it generates incredible fear of allowing that kind of intimacy.

Codependency is an emotional and behavioral defense system that does not work.  Our defense against pain and shame actually creates more pain – and causes us to keep repeating painful patterns in a way which reinforces the belief that we are somehow defective, that we have good reason to feel ashamed of ourselves.

Our fear of intimacy is reinforced by the evidence of how many “stupid” choices we have made in the past.  Our experiences in childhood caused us to fear intimacy and feel that we were somehow unlovable – and our codependency caused us to keep creating new evidence of our inherent defectiveness.

Nasty stuff indeed!

We have a fear of intimacy for very good reasons.  We have a lifetime of experiences that reinforce the original messages – that reinforces our feeling of being terrified of letting anyone get too close to us, see into us.

The only way to overcome our fear of intimacy is to get into recovery for our codependency – and do our inner child healing work so that we can learn to be emotionally honest and intimate with ourselves.  Integrating a Loving Spiritual belief system into our relationship with self and life is an invaluable step in taking power away from the toxic shame so that we can start to Love ourselves and be open to being Loved by others.

“Learning what healthy behavior is will allow us to be healthier in the relationships that do not mean much to us;  intellectually knowing Spiritual Truth will allow us to be more Loving some of the time;  but in the relationships that mean the most to us, with the people we care the most about, when our “buttons are pushed” we will watch ourselves saying things we don’t want to say and reacting in ways that we don’t want to react – because we are powerless to change the behavior patterns without dealing with the emotional wounds.

We cannot integrate Spiritual Truth or intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into our experience of life in a substantial way without honoring and respecting the emotions.  We cannot consistently incorporate healthy behavior into day to day life without being emotionally honest with ourselves.  We cannot get rid of our shame and overcome our fear of emotional intimacy without going through the feelings.”

“The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process.  Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses – until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment – we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth.  We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self.

We, each and every one of us, has an inner channel to Truth, an inner channel to the Great Spirit.  But that inner channel is blocked up with repressed emotional energy, and with twisted, distorted attitudes and false beliefs.

We can intellectually throw out false beliefs.  We can intellectually remember and embrace the Truth of ONENESS and Light and Love.  But we cannot integrate Spiritual Truths into our day-to-day human existence, in a way which allows us to substantially change the dysfunctional behavior patterns that we had to adopt to survive, until we deal with our emotional wounds.  Until we deal with the subconscious emotional programming from our childhoods.”

Logo of Joy2MeU

Logo of Joy2MeU.com website of Robert Burney

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self. Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in ebook format are on that page) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth. I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

Reprogramming our ego defenses Chapter 30 – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Inner Child Healing

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

 

“Recovery involves bringing to consciousness those beliefs and attitudes in our subconscious that are causing our dysfunctional reactions so that we can reprogram our ego defenses to allow us to live a healthy, fulfilling life instead of just surviving. So that we can own our power to make choices for ourselves about our beliefs and values instead of unconsciously reacting to the old tapes. Recovery is consciousness raising. It is en-light-en-ment – bringing the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs out of the darkness of our subconscious into the Light of consciousness.”

“We need to let go of the illusion that we can control this life business. We cannot. We never could! It was an illusion. And we need to let go of the false beliefs that tell us that we are bad and shameful. We cannot become whole as long as we believe that any part of us is bad or shameful.

That includes the ego – that bloated out-of-balance dragon within. . . . . . . now is the time to get things into balance – the time to bring ego-self into alignment and balance with Spiritual Self.

cover of Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

That is the transformation which is known as “the death of the ego.”. . . . . . . The death of the ego is not an event – it is a process. It is not an act of violence – it is an act of Love. A process of learning to Love.

We are bringing ego-self into alignment with Spiritual Truth. We are reconnecting with our Spiritual nature and Spiritual purpose so that we can find some fulfillment and happiness in life.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Our experience of reality, of life, is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality. The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally create our perspectives and expectations – which in turn dictates our relationships and our emotional reactions.

In order to have healthier relationships – with self, with our inner children / emotional wounds, with other people, with concepts like romance and success, etc. – it is very important to become conscious of, and be willing to change, the intellectual paradigm we are empowering both consciously and subconsciously. Our subconscious intellectual paradigm was adapted by our ego in early childhood in response to our emotional experience of being a child.

The ego is the part of us that is charged with responsibility for our survival. The ego is the seat of the disease of codependence.

Being born into an emotionally dishonest, fear and shame based, Spiritually hostile environments (based on belief in separation rather than connection), caused us to be emotionally traumatized in childhood. In response to that emotional trauma our egos adapted some very dysfunctional programming. (Functional in terms of survival, but dysfunctional in terms of helping us to be happy and at peace within.)

For some of us, the wounding started in the womb where we: incubated in our mother’s fear and shame; or got addicted to adrenaline because of the emotional volatility of our mother’s life; or could feel our mother’s waiting for us to arrive to give meaning and purpose to her life; or felt how unwelcome we were because she had already had too many children and was feeling overwhelmed; etc.

We exited the warm nurturing cocoon of our incubator into a cold, harsh world. A world run by Higher Powers (parents and any body else bigger than us – siblings, grandparents, hospital or orphanage personnel) who were wounded in their childhood. Gods who were not emotionally healthy, and did not know how to Love themselves. Our egos were traumatized – and adapted programming to try to protect us from the pain of emotional trauma that felt life threatening.

The people we Loved the most – our Higher Powers – hurt us the most. Our emotional intimacy issues were caused by, our fear of intimacy is a direct result of, our early childhood experiences. Our lives have been lived in reaction to the intellectual paradigms our egos adapted to deal with emotional trauma.

The part of a child’s brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.) As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking. We did not have the capacity to understand that our Higher Powers were not perfect. We watched their role modeling, experienced their behavior as personal, and felt the emotional currents of our environments – worry, frustration, resentment, fear, anger, pain, shame, etc. – and were emotionally traumatized.

Our ego adapted itself to the environment it was experiencing. It developed emotional and behavioral defense systems in reaction to the emotional pain we experienced growing up with parents who were wounded codependents.

If you have ever wondered why it is so much easier to feel Spiritual in relationship to nature or animals, here is your answer. It was people who wounded us in childhood. It is people who our egos developed defense systems to protect us from.

I have told people for years, that the only reason to do inner child healing work is if we are going to interact with other people. If one is going to live in isolation on a mountain top meditating, it will be fairly easy to feel Spiritually connected. It is relating to other human beings that is messy.

In order to start being able to have healthier relationships with ourselves – and therefore with other people – we need to start changing that ego programming.

The way we do that, is to first become aware of it, and aware that we have the power to change it. Then we start learning how to catch it – as I talk about in my articles Union Within and Union Within – 5 years later.

The programming is so powerful and entrenched that we cannot really rid ourselves of it. Unfortunately, it is not like software that we can delete and replace with new software – Love 4.0. It is wired into the hardware.

So, what we need to do is tape over the old tapes. Positive affirmations are the single most powerful tool that I have found for doing this. We need to do positive affirmations to reprogram our subconscious intellectual paradigm. We need to do them because we don’t believe them. The times we need to do them the most are the times when we least feel any belief in them. If we believed them, we wouldn’t need to say them.

Once we start learning how to develop a detached observer perspective so that we can start setting internal boundaries, then positive affirmations are a very powerful tool in helping us change our ego programming.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing Chapter 30

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing

Available as eBook from Amazon  or Barnes & Noble .

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing process that I describe in this book.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling  It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere in the world. I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers (which includes an offer for sessions along with my first two books.)

Enabling & Rescuing vs Tough Love

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“We cannot begin to make progress in learning to Love ourselves until we start being kind to ourselves in healthy ways.  A very important part of being kind to ourselves is learning how to say no, and how to set, and be able to defend, boundaries.

    Unconditional Love does not mean being a doormat for other people – unconditional Love begins with Loving ourselves enough to protect ourselves from the people we Love if that is necessary.”

    “We live in a society where the emotional experience of “love” is conditional on behavior.  Where fear, guilt, and shame are used to try to control children’s behavior because parents believe that their children’s behavior reflects their self-worth.

    In other words, if little Johnny is a well-behaved, “good boy,” then his parents are good people.  If Johnny acts out, and misbehaves, then there is something wrong with his parents.  (“He doesn’t come from a good family.”)

    What the family dynamics research shows is that it is actually the good child – the family hero role -who is the most emotionally dishonest and out of touch with him/herself, while the acting-out child – the scapegoat – is the most emotionally honest child in the dysfunctional family.” – all quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Enabling is a term used in 12 step recovery to describe the behavior of family members, or other loved ones, who rescue an alcoholic or drug addict from the consequences of their own self destructive behavior.  It also relates to rescuing anyone who is caught up in any of the compulsive and/or addictive self destructive behaviors that are symptoms of codependency:  gambling;  spending;  eating disorders;  sexual or relationship addictions;  inability to hold a job;  etc.

Codependency recovery is in one sense growing up.  As long as we are caught in unconscious reaction to our childhood wounding we cannot become mature responsible adults capable of healthy, Truly Loving relationships.  The person who is caught up in self destructive compulsive/addictive behavior patterns behaves in an immature and irresponsible manner.

[As I note often in my writing, codependency involves extremes of behavior.  The immature, irresponsible, self destructive codependent is one extreme of the spectrum – usually the person who is genetically an addictive personality.  At the other extreme, is the codependent who is over responsible and/or other focused – and can appear to be very mature and successful, with no need of being rescued.  This is often the adult who as a child was being the parent in the family – rescuing and taking care of their own immature parents from a very young age.  The family hero or caretaker who defines themselves by external accomplishments, popularity, possessions, superiority to others, etc.  This person can be a workaholic, or exercise/health fanatic, or religion addict, or a professional caretaker (therapist, nurse, etc.), or “kind hearted” martyr (who is passively controlling by avoiding conflict and thus set up to be the “wronged” victim) – some type of controlling personality who feels superior to others based upon their seeming ability to be in control of their lives according to certain external criteria.  The external criteria can range from being financially successful to being successful in never getting angry – and are dysfunctional codependent measures of worth based upon comparison to, upon feeling superior to, other people.  These varieties of codependency are not capable of healthy, Truly Loving relationships either.]

A person who is acting out self destructively has no reason to change if they do not ever suffer major consequences for their behavior.  If they are rescued from consequences, they are enabled to continue practicing their addiction.

I celebrated my sobriety anniversary on January 3rd.  I have now been clean and sober for over 30 years.  The reason I got clean and sober was because my parents did an intervention on me and set a boundary that they would not rescue me financially one more time.

An intervention is a confrontation of self destructive behavior by the addicts loved ones.  It is often professionally facilitated – although that is not a necessary requirement.  It involves the family and friends of an alcoholic/addict confronting the self destructive behavior and setting boundaries with the person.  It is sometimes described as an example of “tough love.”

Tough love is a misnomer.  Love that does not include boundaries is not Truly Love – it is enmeshment, it is emotional vampirism.  If I do not Love myself enough to have boundaries to protect myself from the behavior of others than I am not capable of relating to other people in a healthy Loving manner.  Rescuing another from their own self destructive behavior is not Loving – and it is codependently dishonest.

When we are reacting out of our codependency, unconsciously reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds and programming, then we are not capable of being honest with ourselves or others.  A codependent doesn’t rescue or try to save someone they “love” for the other persons benefit – they do it for themselves.  A parent who keeps rescuing a child from self destructive behavior is on some level trying to be loving – but at the deepest level they are trying to rescue themselves from the pain of seeing their child destroy themselves.  They are being selfish – which is human and normal – but they are doing it dishonestly by telling themselves they are doing it for the other person.  This is a set up to feel victimized – and to abuse and shame the child/loved one for their behavior.  “How can you do this to me after all I have done for you?”

One of the important distinctions to learn in recovery, is how to draw a boundary between being and behavior.  We can love a person’s being and still protect ourselves from their behavior if that is necessary.  To think that loving someone means we have to accept being abused by them is dysfunctional – and it demonstrates a lack of Love for our self.  If we do not know how to be Loving to our self, then we cannot Truly Love another person in a healthy way.  If we do not honor our self, show respect for our self, by having boundaries – then the other person is not going to respect us.

Rescuing someone who is actively practicing addiction of some kind, is enabling.  It is dysfunctional because it supports the person in continuing to practice their addiction.   A person in recovery working on getting healthier may need some help from time to time – and that is great, that is being supportive in a positive manner.  Helping someone to continue to self destruct is not support, it is codependency – it is also not Loving.”

Applying the Serenity Prayer – Wisdom through Discernment ~ Intellectual Discernment – focused within

 

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

   “”I learned that even though there are things that feel like mistakes, that even though life sometimes feels like punishment, that those feelings are not the Truth.  I learned that my emotional truth was being dictated by my subconscious perspectives of life, by the definitions of life that had been imposed on me as a child, by the subconscious attitudes that I had adopted because of the emotional traumas I had experienced as a child.

    Perspective is a key to Recovery.  I had to change and enlarge my perspectives of myself and my own emotions, of other people, of God and of this life business.  Our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life.  We have a dysfunctional relationship with life because we were taught to have a dysfunctional perspective of this life business, dysfunctional definitions of who we are and why we are here.

    It is kind of like the old joke about three blind men describing an elephant by touch.  Each one of them is telling his own Truth, they just have a lousy perspective.  Codependence is all about having a lousy relationship with life, with being human, because we have a lousy perspective on life as a human.” – all quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

One of the gifts of the twelve step recovery process, of learning to apply the Serenity Prayer in our lives, is that we start to learn how to take responsibility without blaming – either our self or others.  We learn how to take responsibility for the things we do have the power to change – and hold others responsible for their side of the street.  This powerful, life changing paradigm shift was in fact the spark that set off the latest series of articles I have been writing .

“In recovery it is very important to take responsibility while also learning to stop giving power to the polarized blame and shame of the disease.  Therein lies a tale.”  – To Parents of Alcoholics / Addicts

There are so many facets and levels to the process of making this paradigm shift that I will probably be writing articles about it for the rest of the year.  It is so vital because it changes our relationship with self and with life – which in turn changes how we relate to other people.

When I use the term paradigm shift, I am talking about changing the context, the framework, in which we view life.  Like the quote above about the 3 blind men from my book, if we are not looking at a larger picture we are not seeing clearly.  If we are viewing our self and life out of eyes that are limited by polarized, shame based beliefs, then we are not seeing life clearly – we are not seeing the whole elephant.

Our perspective of anything dictates our relationship with that thing.  And our perspectives are set up by the intellectual paradigm we are empowering – by the attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that we are holding, both consciously and subconsciously.

That is why it is so important to start practicing intellectual discernment.  To start looking at the attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that are dictating our perspectives of life.  We can change our relationship with life – and with all the components of life – by changing our perspectives.

This includes our perspective of our emotions.  Because we grew up in emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional cultures, we learned to have a dysfunctional relationship with our own emotions.  It is through learning to have some intellectual discernment that we can start changing our attitude towards our own emotions – and then we can also start practicing emotional discernment.

I will be talking about some different aspects of both intellectual and emotional discernment in coming articles. For this article I want to make a point about how important this process is by using the example of some basic dysfunctional beliefs that are at the foundation of our relationship with life.  These are the beliefs that we learned from the fairy tales we heard in early childhood.

We learned that when we meet our Prince or Princess we will live happily-ever-after.  We got the message that there was a destination to reach in life where we would find a state of being that is happily-ever-after.

That is not true.  It is not the way life works.  You know that now.  As an adult, you consciously and intellectually know that there is no happily-ever-after – if you have ever stopped to think about it.

Unfortunately however, that belief is programmed into our subconscious intellectual paradigm and as such, it determines our perspective of life, of romance, of our self – and thus dictates our emotional relationship with those aspects of our human experience.

We are set up to feel like failures in life, and in romantic relationships, because we do not get to reach happily-ever-after.  We judge and shame ourselves because we haven’t lived up to the fairy tale.  We blame ourselves – or we blame others for this feeling of failure.

This feeling of failure is an illusion based upon a fairy tale.  It is based upon beliefs about life that are not true – that have never been true.  It is part of our subconscious programming and the only way to change it is to change that subconscious programming – and heal the emotional wounds that we have experienced because our dysfunctional relationships with life and romance set us up to feel like failures.

We cannot do that without looking within.  We need to become willing to start shining the light of consciousness into the darkness of our subconscious in order to take power away from that which is in the dark.  Looking outside to find the answers does not work.  It is only by looking within that we can start healing and recovering from the false beliefs that we learned in childhood.

It is vital for us to start awakening to the reality that we have the power to change our beliefs.  We have the power to choose a different intellectual paradigm to define our life.  That is what working the twelve steps can do for us – cause a paradigm shift our relationship with life.  The more conscious we get about how the process works the quicker we can make the transition.

We have the power to change the attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that are dictating our relationship with life.  We can start practicing discernment – picking the baby out of the bath water – once we are willing to start looking within without shame and blame.  The key to doing this is to detach from our own process enough to develop an objective perspective of our self.

To use the blind men and the elephant analogy, this means to realize that we aren’t really blind – we have just had our eyes closed, have been living unconsciously.  We can open our eyes and step back to look at the elephant from a better perspective.  We can walk around it and look at it from all angles.  We have a choice to open our eyes and see more clearly.  We do not have to be trapped in the programming from our childhood.  We have a choice.

We lived life unconsciously because we did not know any other way.  It is not shameful – not something to judge ourselves for.  Once we get in enough pain we start becoming willing to look for another way.  That is when we can start to learn and practice discernment.  That is when we can begin our recovery.”

Logo of Joy2MeU

Logo of Joy2MeU.com website of codependency recovery expert inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney

This is the third article in a series of articles on learning to live the Serenity Prayer in one’s life – something that is facilitated by working a 12 step program.  The first article in this series is Discernment – The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer  The article that follows it is Emotional Discernment – taking power away from the fear.

Robert Burney is a pioneer in the area of codependency recovery / inner child healing. His first book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time.”  His main site http://Joy2MeU.com/ shares over 200 pages of free original content on codependency recovery, inner child healing, relationship dynamics, alcoholism/addiction, fear of intimacy, Twelve Step Spirituality, New Age Metaphysics, emotional abuse, setting boundaries, grief process, and much more.  Here is a link to his site index page.  He also has a mobile friendly site focused on his work:  http://recoverycodependence.com/