Intellectual Discernment – “have to” and the Holiday Season

The Dance

“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 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.”

“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.

Our model for what a family should be sets up abusive, emotionally dishonest dynamics.”

“When we say “I have to” we are making a victim statement. . . . . . . When we “have to” do something we feel like a victim.  And because we feel victimized, we will then be angry, and want to punish, whomever we see as forcing us to do something we do not want to do – such as our family, or our boss, or society.””

(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

In last month’s article I talked about shutting up the critical parent voice – and mentioned that among the messages that are coming from the critical parent are “shoulds” and “have tos.”  In last months articles I started with the quote from my book about saying “have to” – and then went into different ways we express ourselves in relationship to our emotions that affect our relationship with our own emotions.

I decided that for this months topic I would discuss the “shoulds” and “have tos” in more depth, in relationship to setting ourselves up to feel like victims at this time of year.  In my article Happy Holidays, Sad Holidays that I republished at the beginning of this month, I talk about how trying to live up to the fairy tale / fantasy that everyone is happy and cheerful at Christmas time – and judging myself for not feeling what I thought I “should” – caused me to feel depressed and suicidal during the Holiday Season.  This is the time of year when the most suicides occur – because people are feeling despair that their lives aren’t what they “should” be.

It is so important to take the “shoulds” and “have tos” out of our vocabulary – both externally and internally in our mental process.  “Should” and “have to” come from the critical parent voice in our head that is judging us according to false criteria from a black and white / right and wrong perspective – and we learned that programming from our parents in our family of origin (as well as from teachers in school, ministers and priests in church, etc., etc.).

You don’t “have to” spend the Holidays with your family.  If you are going to spend time with your family over the Holidays because it is what you “should” do, what you “have to” do – then you are set up to feel like a victim and feel resentment.  Feeling resentful and victimized is not a good ingredient to add to the Holiday emotional mix if you want to connect with some of the Spirit of Love that the Holiday Season is supposed to represent.

As I point out often in my writing, one of the major components of empowerment is owning that we have a choice.  Unless you own that you have a choice to not spend time with your family during the Holidays, then you haven’t made a free choice to be there.  Anytime we feel stuck in a situation, feel that we don’t have a choice – to leave a marriage or a job, to do something or not do something – we have not made a choice to stay.  It is impossible to consciously commit to something if we don’t own that we have a choice not to do it.

So, if you spend time with your family during the Holidays because you “have to,” you are not being Loving.  You are not being kind, you are not giving anything, unless you are doing it by conscious choice – which involves owning that you have a choice to not do it.

The other major component of empowerment is seeing reality as it is and making the best of it – instead of being the victim of it, wishing it was different, thinking it “should” be different.  This includes seeing the reality of our families clearly.  The families we grew up in were dysfunctional and emotionally dishonest because society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.  (In the latest chapter of the online book I am publishing on my web site right now, I discuss why normal is dysfunctional and how the conditions that caused that have changed in recent years. Normal Families are Dysfunctional)

We grew up in families / societies where our experience of love was shaming and controlling, because that is all our codependent parents knew – due to their childhood wounding.  Unless our families are in recovery from codependency then their behavior is still manipulative and shaming.  They want us to be there for the Holidays to support their ego image of themselves as parents – their fantasy about having a happy family that gathers lovingly for the Holidays.

Love is a verb.  Love is defined by action.  If the way someone treats you does not feel Loving, then it is not healthy Love.  If the way your family treats you, if the way you feel when you are with them, does not feel Loving, it is important not to deny that reality.  That is one reason why the Holidays are sad for many people.  It is important to see that reality and own that sadness – instead of denying and rationalizing.  Denying our feelings is harmful to us.  It is not healthy.

When you look at their behavior and recognize the dishonesty and dysfunction, then you can also recognize that they are doing the best they can do.  You can know they are not in recovery, may never be in recovery – and that they think they are demonstrating love when they use guilt and shame to try to get you to uphold their fantasy about the Holidays.

Once you recognize the reality and own that you have a choice, then you can make a choice to spend some time with them out of kindness.  You can then make a choice that is Truly Loving, that is Truly giving.

And you can set boundaries with them that are Loving for you.  There are not just two choices – the black and white extremes of the disease – there are choices in between 1 and 10.  You can make a choice to spend some time with them, but limit the time so that you are not subjected to the dysfunction for too long.

One of my phone counseling clients yesterday shared with me a perfect example of making this kind of choice.  In the past few years she had chosen not to be with her family because it was so painful.  This year she was choosing to spend some time with them, with a very distinct boundary in place.  Her boundary was that they would not start drinking until the evening, and that she would leave when they started drinking.  In this way, she was taking care of herself and her family by not putting up with too much of the dysfunctional behavior of her family of origin.

Love is a choice.  When we “have to” we are not making a choice, and not being Truly Loving.  The most Loving thing we can do for ourselves in this emotionally charged time of the year is to see reality clearly and own our choices in deciding the best way to celebrate the Holiday.  We can best honor the message of Love that Christmas symbolizes by being Loving to our self.  (Which of course includes not judging yourself if you are spending time with them this year out of belief in “have to.”  We need to become aware that it is okay to own our choices before we can make a choice.  If this article is presenting you with a new concept, it is important not to judge yourself for your programming, for your codependency.) 

Sacred Spiral with tail pointing to the right signifying going toward.

This article is part of a 9 part series of articles focused on the Serenity Prayer.  The first article in the series is Applying the Serenity Prayer – Wisdom through Discernment (mobile friendly version.)

I have a special Holiday 2018 Offer Page available now, with special offers on my first two books – and on my Life Changing telephone / Skype counseling and Workshop.

 

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Happy Holidays, Sad Holidays

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self – what some people call “the small quiet voice.”

   We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice.  As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us.  Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself – it is self-perpetuating.

    This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection.  What we are learning about is unconditional Love.  Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

    The holidays were always a very hard time for me emotionally.  Being alone on Christmas and New Years Eve was very painful.  So painful that sometimes I would arrange to be with someone or with a group of people just so I wouldn’t be alone.  That often was more painful than being alone.  And on those occasions when I was in a relationship during the holidays it was also painful because there was something missing, somehow I was failing the other person or she was failing me because even though there were moments of Joy and Love, it never felt quite like it “should” feel.

    After I had been in recovery a few years – in the course of trying to figure out how I set myself up to be a victim with my expectations – I had a very important insight about holidays.  I realized that holidays – not just Christmas and New Years Eve but Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, etc. – along with days like anniversaries and my birthday were the times which I judged myself the most.  My expectations of what a holiday “should” be, of where I “should” be at a certain age, of how my life “should” look at this particular time, were causing me to unmercifully beat myself up.  I was buying into the disease voice which was telling me that I was a loser and a failure (or going to the other extreme and blaming someone else for my feelings.)  I was giving power to the toxic shame that told me that I was unworthy and unlovable.

    I realized that I was judging myself against standards that weren’t real, against expectations that were a fantasy, a fairy tale.  The fairy tale that everyone should be happy and cheerful during the Christmas holidays is ridiculous just like the myth of happily-ever-after is a false belief that doesn’t apply to this level of existence.  The holidays are just like every other day of the year only magnified.  That means there will be moments of happiness and Joy but there will also be moments of sadness and hurt.

    Christmas is about Love and birth – rebirth.  The Winter Solstice is the time of the longest darkness and marks the point of increasing light, the new beginning.  Hanukkah is a celebration of, and time of, rededication.  Kwanzaa is a time of recommitment.  These are all times of both celebration and introspection.  Of assessing the past and focusing on what we want to create in the future (New Years resolutions.)  Any new beginning, any birth or rebirth is a also an ending.  With every ending there is sadness, feelings of loss and grief.  Loss because of Loved ones who are no longer in our life, grief because Loved ones who are still in our life cannot see us or understand us, sadness because of things that ended and people we have had to let go of during the past year.

    What is so important, what has changed my experience of these Holidays completely is allowing myself to accept the reality of my life (looking at both the half of the glass that is full as well as the empty part) and be wherever I need to be emotionally – that is, allowing myself to be emotionally honest with myself.  That does not mean that I have to be emotionally honest with other people.  If I am feeling grief because I am alone on the Holiday it does not serve me to share that with someone who is not being emotionally honest – someone who will shame me for not being cheerful.  If I am feeling hurt or scared or angry I will only share that with someone who is a safe person to share with emotionally – that is, they won’t discount and invalidate my feelings or try to fix me.

    I don’t have to live up to some false expectations about how I “should” be feeling today.  It was trying to deny the pain and sadness, the anger and fear, while judging myself as shameful for not feeling what I “should” feel or being who I “should” be, that caused me to get depressed and suicidal.  When I am in my feeling process I actually am a lot happier and feel more Joy than I ever did before I learned how to be emotionally honest.  It was on Christmas about 25 years ago that I got real clear that I could feel more than one feeling at once.  I was sad that it was Christmas and I was alone, and I was grieving for all of the Christmases that I had been sad and alone – which were very valid and legitimate feelings.  But as I went around to various clubhouses and friend’s homes that were having open houses, I could feel happy to see people I cared about.  I could feel Joy and gratitude that I was in recovery and feeling my feelings at the same time I was owning the sadness of that day and the grief of all the lonely holidays that I had experienced.

    It is so very important to stop judging ourselves against someone else’s standards and shaming ourselves due to a fantasy of where we “should be.”  We are exactly where we are supposed to be. We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are perfect in our Spiritual Essence, we are perfectly where we are supposed to be on our Spiritual path and from a human perspective we will never do human perfectly.

    A natural normal part of our human experience is feeling the feelings – we need to accept that.  No one who is being emotionally honest with themselves can go through the holidays without feeling sadness and hurt, anger and fear.  The good news is that the more we are able to own those emotions the more moments of peace, Joy, and happiness we can have.

    So, have a happy, merry, sad, Joyous, painful, peaceful, scary, cheerful in the moment Holiday season experiencing what it feels like to be alive in human body.  Whatever your celebration: Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc. let it be about the new beginning; the rededication to: the recommitment to: the rebirth of; life.  But most of all, let it be about Love by first of all Loving yourself enough to tell the critical parent voice in your head to shut up with all the comparisons and shame and judgment.”

Sacred Spiral

Special Holiday Offers – Give the gift of recovery this year by giving some people you care about a personally autographed copy of Robert’s Joyously Inspirational Book.  3 copies of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls for the bargain price of $12 each plus shipping – save almost $18.00 off of retail price.  There are also links to special offers for phone counseling, subscriptions, MP3 downloads, and Robert Burney’s Intensive Training Day Workshop on that page.

Holiday Sale 2018

 

 

Thanksgiving ~ Gratitude – a Vital Tool in the Recovery Process

I am reposting this blog for this Thanksgiving Season – and adding a quote here to the beginning of it of something I wrote in one of my Update Newsletters several years ago.

“There is something that I share with phone counseling clients and in my Intensive often that I believe I have written about some place, but can’t find it – which may mean it is in one of the millions of words in one of my password protected sites (where I can’t do a search to find things.)  It has to do with how at one point when I was living in Cambria I had a sprained ankle and couldn’t take my daily walk on the bluffs that were such an important part of my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual nurturing and recharging of my internal batteries.  And for some reason while I was incapacitated with this ankle injury it occurred to me that I didn’t ever think of my body parts unless they weren’t working – unless there was something wrong with them.  Made me realize that I need to start being grateful every day that I can walk.  That I can see and hear and all the things that I take for granted until something goes wrong with my body.  So, my car starting was another one of those things that I take for granted until something goes wrong.  Remember to be grateful for your car and your body working today. ;-)”

The Dance

 ““One of the gifts that came to me early in my healing process was a little expression that helped me start changing my perspective.  That expression was, “I don’t have any problems   I have opportunities for growth.”  The more I stopped focusing on problems and obstacles, and started looking for the gifts, the lessons, attached to them, the easier life became.

I became a part of the solution instead of getting stuck being the victim of the problem.  I started seeing the half of the glass that was full instead of always focusing on the half that was empty.

Every problem is an opportunity for growth.

My subconscious Codependent attitudes and perspectives caused me to take life personally – to react emotionally as if life events were being directed at me personally as a punishment for being unworthy, for being a shameful creature.

Life is a series of lessons.  The more I became aligned with knowing that I was being given gifts to grow from – the less I believed that the purpose of life was to punish me – the easier life became.

Everything happens for a reason; there is always a silver lining.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Since it is Thanksgiving time it seems only appropriate to talk about one of the most important tools in the recovery process – gratitude.  Being grateful for what we have, and keeping things in perspective, is vital in the struggle to stay in the now and enjoy today as much as possible.

There are two aspects of empowerment that come into play here.  One is;  that empowerment involves seeing life as it is and making the best of it (instead of being the victim of it not being what it “should” be);  the other is realizing that we have a choice about where to focus our mind.

To have a healthy, balanced relationship with life we need to see life as it really is – which includes owning and feeling the pain, fear, and anger that is a natural part of living – and then have a Spiritual belief system that helps us to know that everything happens for a reason, that allows us to choose to focus on the silver linings rather than buy into the belief that we are victims.

Society teaches us to view life from a perspective of fear, lack, and scarcity.  Rather we view life from that place of fear or go to the other extreme and deny that we feel any fear – either way we are giving power to the fear, we are living life in reaction to the fear.

Growing up I learned from my male role model that a man never admits he is afraid – at the same time that my role model lived in constant fear the future.  To his death my father couldn’t relax and enjoy himself because impending doom is always on the horizon.  The disease voice, the critical parent voice, in my head always wants to focus on the negative and expect the worst just like my father did.

This programming to focus on the negative was compounded by the fact that I learned conditional love (that I would be rewarded or punished according to what I deserved – which, since I felt unworthy, meant I had good reason to expect doom), and that I had to learn to disassociate from myself in childhood.  I had to learn to go unconscious and not be present in my own skin in the moment because emotional honesty was not allowed in my family.  All Codependents learn to find things outside of self – drugs, alcohol, food, relationships, career, religion, etc. – to help us stay unconscious to our own emotional reality, but the primary and earliest way almost all of us found to disconnect from our feelings – which exist in our bodies – is to live in our heads.

Since I could not be comfortable in my own skin in the now without feeling the feelings, I spent most of my life living in either the past or the future.  My mind was almost always focused on regret for past or fear of (or fantasy about) the future.  When I did focus on the now it was with self-pity as a victim – of myself (I am stupid, a failure, etc.), of others (who victimized me), or of life (which was not fair or just ).

It was wonderfully liberating in recovery to start learning that I could start to see life in a growth context.  That I had a choice to focus on the half of the glass that was full instead of giving power to the disease which always wants to focus on the half that is empty.  When I focus on what I have, and have been given, that I am grateful for – instead of just focusing on what I want that I don’t have – it helps me to let go of the victim place my disease wants to promote.

What works for me is to remind myself of the difference between my wants and my needs.  My Truth is that every day that I have been in recovery all my needs have been filled – and there has not been a single day that all my wants have been met.  If I focus on what I want that I don’t have then I feel like a victim and make myself miserable.  If I choose to remind myself of what I have and how far I have come then I can let go of some of the victim perspective.

Ninety-eight per cent of the time when I am in fear it means that I am in the future.  Pulling myself back into the now, turning the future over to my Higher Power, and focusing on gratitude, frees me to have some happy moments today.

When I was about two years in recovery there was a time when I was talking to my sponsor on the phone.  I had just lost my job, the car had broken down, and I had to move out of my apartment in two weeks.  Talk about tragedy and impending doom!  I was laying in bed feeling very sorry for myself and very terrified about how painful it was going to be when I became homeless.  After listening to me for a while my sponsor asked me, “What’s up above you?”  It was a stupid question and I told him so.  I was pissed that he wasn’t giving me the sympathy I deserved – but he insisted that I answer.  So I finally said, “Well, the ceiling.”  And he said, “Oh, so your not homeless tonight are you?”  And of course, everything worked out fine in the next two weeks.  My Higher Power always has a plan in place even when I can’t see any way out.

We all have much to be grateful for, to give thanksgiving for, if we just choose to look at the half of the glass that is full.  So, have a grateful Thanksgiving.”

Logo of Joy2MeU

Robert Burney is a counselor, Spiritual Teacher and 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 work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level” – and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.” Robert’s 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.

Reading his book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of his books in both hard copy ebook, and audiobook 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 he has 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.  He has special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of his books) on this page.

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.

Learning to Love our self – Inner Child Healing / Codependence Recovery

     “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.”

    “We need to take the shame and judgment out of the process on a personal level.  It is vitally important to stop listening and giving power to that critical place within us that tells us that we are bad and wrong and shameful.

    That “critical parent” voice in our head is the disease lying to us. . . .  This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection.  What we are learning about is unconditional Love.  Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.”

    “We need to start observing ourselves and stop judging ourselves.  Any time we judge and shame ourselves, we are feeding back into the disease, we are jumping back into the squirrel cage.” – Quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence is a dysfunctional defense system that was built in reaction to feeling unlovable and unworthy – because our parents were wounded codependents who didn’t know how to love themselves.  We grew up in environments that were emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile, and shame based.  Our relationship with ourselves (and all the different parts of our self: emotions, gender, spirit, etc.) got twisted and distorted in order to survive in our particular dysfunctional environment.

We got to an age where we were supposed to be an adult and we started acting like we knew what we were doing.  We went around pretending to be adult at the same time we were reacting to the programming that we got growing up.  We tried to do everything “right” or rebelled and went against what we had been taught was “right.”  Either way we weren’t living our life through choice, we were living it in reaction.

In order to start being loving to ourselves we need to change our relationship with our self – and with all the wounded parts of our self.   The way which I have found works the best in starting to love ourselves is through having internal boundaries.

Learning to have internal boundaries is a dynamic process that involves three distinctly different, but intimately interconnected, spheres of work.  The purpose of the work is to change our ego-programming – to change our relationship with ourselves by changing our emotional/behavioral defense system into something that works to open us up to receive love, instead of sabotaging ourselves because of our deep belief that we don’t deserve love.

(I need to make the point here that Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on different levels. In regard to our relationship with ourselves this involves two major dimensions: 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 a Higher Power, to the Universal Source. If we cannot conceive of a God/Goddess Force that loves us then it makes it virtually impossible to be loving to ourselves. So a Spiritual Awakening is absolutely vital to the process in my opinion. Changing our relationship with ourselves on the horizontal level is both a necessary element in, and possible because we are working on, integrating Spiritual Truth into our inner process.)

These three spheres are:

1.  Detachment

2.  Inner Child Healing

3.  Grieving

Because Codependence is a reactive phenomena it is vital to start being able to detach from our own process in order to have some choice in changing our reactions.  We need to start observing our selves from the witness perspective instead of from the perspective of the judge.

We all observe ourselves – have a place of watching ourselves as if from outside, or perched somewhere inside, observing our own behavior.  Because of our childhoods we learned to judge ourselves from that witness perspective, the “critical parent” voice.

The emotionally dishonest environments we were raised in taught us that it was not ok to feel our emotions, or that only certain emotions were ok.  So we had to learn ways to control our emotions in order to survive.  We adapted the same tools that were used on us – guilt, shame, and fear (and saw in the role modeling of our parents how they reacted to life from shame and fear.)  This is where the critical parent gets born.  It’s purpose is to try to keep our emotions and behavior under some sort of control so that we can get our survival needs met.

So the first boundary that we need to start setting internally is with the wounded / dysfunctionally programmed part of our own mind.  We need to start saying no to the inner voices that are shaming and judgmental.  The disease comes from a black and white, right and wrong, perspective.  It speaks in absolutes: “You always screw up!”  “You will never be a success!” – these are lies. We don’t always screw up. We may never be a success according to our parents or societies dysfunctional definition of success – but that is because our heart and soul do not resonate with those definitions, so that kind of success would be a betrayal of ourselves. We need to consciously change our definitions so that we can stop judging ourselves against someone else’s screwed up value system.

We learned to relate to ourselves (and all the parts of our self – emotions, sexuality, etc.) and life from a critical place of believing that something was wrong with us – and in fear that we would be punished if we didn’t do life “right.”  Whatever we are doing or not doing the disease can always find something to beat us up with.  I have 10 things on my “to do list” today, I get 9 of them done, the disease does not want me to give myself credit for what I have done but instead beats me up for the one I didn’t get done.  Whenever life gets too good we get uncomfortable and the disease jumps right in with fear and shame messages.  The critical parent voice keeps us from relaxing and enjoying life, and from loving our self.

We need to own that we have the power to choose where to focus our mind. We can consciously start viewing ourselves from the “witness” perspective.   It is time to fire the judge – our critical parent – and choose to replace that judge with our Higher Self, who is a loving parent. We can then intervene in our own process to protect ourselves from the perpetrator within – the critical parent/disease voice.

(It is almost impossible to go from critical parent to compassionate loving parent in one step – so the first step often is to try to observe ourselves from a neutral position or a “scientific observer” perspective.)

This is what enlightenment and consciousness raising are all about.  Owning our power to be a co-creator of our lives by changing our relationship with ourselves.  We can change the way we think.  We can change the way we respond to our own emotions. We need to detach from our wounded self in order to allow our Spiritual Self to guide us.  We are Unconditionally Loved.  The Spirit does not speak to us from judgment and shame.

One of the visualizations that has helped me over the years is an image of a small control room in my brain.  This control room is full of dials and gauges and lights and sirens. In this control room are a bunch of Keebler-like elves whose job it is to make sure that I don’t get too emotional for my own good.  Whenever I feel anything too strongly (including Joy, happiness, self-love) the lights start flashing and the sirens start wailing and the elves go crazy running around trying to get things under control.  They start pushing some of the old survival buttons:  feeling too happy – drink; feeling too sad- eat sugar; feeling scared – get laid; or whatever.

To me, the process of recovery is about teaching those elves to chill out.  Reprogramming my ego-defenses to knowing that it is okay to feel the feelings.  That feeling and releasing the emotions is not only okay it is what will work best in allowing me to have my needs fulfilled.

We need to change our relationship with ourselves and our own emotions in order to stop being at war with ourselves.  The first step to doing that is to detach from ourselves enough to start protecting ourselves from the perpetrator that lives within us.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site and in my second book (below.)  A key element of that work includes learning to set the internal boundaries I talk about in the article above.

Cover of Inner Child Healing book

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

This book Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light – Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child is a process level – how to – book about the inner child healing approach discovered by Robert in his recovery.  The approach to inner child / emotional healing shared within is the missing piece – the missing perspective – of the puzzle of life that so many people have been seeking.  It is a formula for integrating intellectual knowledge and spiritual Truth into one’s emotional relationship with life.   It is the key to learning how to be more Loving to your self – and to turning life into an adventure to be experienced instead of an ordeal of suffering to be endured.

Joy to You & Me Enterprises offers an Empowering & Life Changing Intensive Training Day Workshop in San Diego with Spiritual Teacher, inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney.  Learn his innovative Spiritual Integration Formula for Inner Healing.  To find out the locations and dates for upcoming appearances go to Day of Intensive Training. (Next workshop is January 4th in San Diego.  The day after my 30th Sobriety Birthday.;-)