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


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.


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.


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.

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.”

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Logo of 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.

Grieving – examples of how the process works in Codependency Recovery

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Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“This grieving is not an intellectual process. Changing our false and dysfunctional attitudes is vital to the process; enlarging our intellectual perspective is absolutely necessary to the process, but doing these things does not release the energy – it does not heal the wounds.

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.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Grieving is a natural part of the human healing process. In writing an online book about the September 11th terrorist attack – a work I started publishing online on September 22nd, 2001 – I urged people to wail and scream and sob, to release the energy that was being generated by this traumatic event. Trauma is a shock to the system. Any type of trauma suffered by a human being – trauma to our physical bodies, witnessing a traumatic event, experiencing a loss (death of a loved one, house burning down, end of a relationship, etc.), etc. – causes emotional energy to be generated in reaction to that trauma. Denying and suppressing that energy does not make it go away.

“Feel your feelings and release them. Give yourself permission to let it all out. Wail and scream and sob. Try not to let the messages of an emotionally dysfunctional society, or the discomfort of emotionally repressed people around you, keep you from owning the grief to the fullest. They want you to pull it together and get yourself under control so they will be comfortable. Let it out! Release it! Do not shame yourself for it, or apologize – it is marvelously healing to grieve. Owning our grief is part of being True to self. In an emotionally honest society Dan Rather would have been crying and sobbing on his own program – serving as a role model for others – instead of keeping up appearances and stuffing his grief until some of it leaked out on the David Letterman Show.” – Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective Chapter 1 (published online September 22, 2001)

In that article I also did a little yelling about the importance of owing our grief.

“If I see one more person on television starting to get emotional and then choke it down and apologize, I AM GOING TO SCREAM!

Please feel your feelings. Let those sobs out. We are supposed to feel. It is healthy to grieve. Breathe right into those feelings. Sobs are little balls of emotional energy being released. If you breath into the feelings it breaks up the grief and the little energy balls of emotions can rise up and be released from your being. That is good. Keep taking deep breaths. Get into a rhythm. Inhale, sob sob sob cry cry cry as you exhale, inhale, sob sob sob cry cry cry – that is good. That is healthy. Do not shame yourself for feeling. Do not apologize for your feelings. It means your human. It means you care. Sobs, tears, snot from the nose are all ways of releasing energy and cleansing chemicals out of our body. Grief is not a pretty sight – but it is a beautifully healing and a Loving thing to do for yourself. That emotional energy does not go away just because we stop breathing and choke it back down. It does not disappear. The more you can release, the faster you can move through it. Watch the History Channel some time when they interview vets from World War II or something like that. People who have never really grieved will get emotional and choke it back down 40 – 50 years later, because they never released it. It didn’t go away, they have been repressing it and denying it all those years. Release it now. It is healthy. It is the Loving thing to do for yourself. Amen.” – Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective Chapter 1

In this quote, I refer to the breath techniques for releasing grief that I talk about on the web page Grief Process Techniques – path to love & forgiveness and in the online column Emotional Release Techniques – Deep Grieving.  In this web article, I am going to share some example of how the grief process works.

Life events such as the September 11th terrorist attack on New York City and Washington D. C. are very traumatic. (More recent examples would be the Boston Marathon Bombing, the landslide in Washington state, or any number of traumatic events that are unfolding in our world.) It is important to own our feelings about life events, rather it is a horrific event such as the terrorist attack or if it is some other kind of traumatic loss – such as a relationship break up, or loss of a job, or whatever.

What makes owning our feelings about traumatic events in the present so difficult is that we have unresolved grief from the past. Because society is emotionally dishonest and we were trained to be emotionally dishonest, we are all carrying grief from our past. That grief energy is trapped within us in a pressurized explosive state that causes us to feel terrified of tapping into it.

“The way to stop reacting out of our inner children is to release the stored emotional energy from our childhoods by doing the grief work that will heal our wounds. The only effective, long term way to clear our emotional process – to clear the inner channel to Truth which exists in all of us – is to grieve the wounds which we suffered as children. The most important single tool, the tool which is vital to changing behavior patterns and attitudes in this healing transformation, is the grief process. The process of grieving.

We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago. We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.”

When an event in the now triggers our old grief issues it makes it very difficult to understand our own emotions unless we are relating to ourselves from a healing framework. If we are in recovery from childhood wounds, then we can sort out our internal turmoil – then we can have discernment about which part of what we are feeling is about what is happening now, and which part of it is grief from the past that has been triggered.

It is important to understand our emotional process – and what grief entails – to see ourselves more clearly so that we can choose to respond in a healthy way instead of letting our emotional wounds be in control of our life by just reacting. Then we do not have to stuff our feelings or apologize for them because we are able to see ourselves more clearly and respond in healthier, more appropriate ways.

Grieving is a great relief

Grieving is a great relief. Releasing repressed, pressurized emotional energy that we have been denying and avoiding for years is the path to freedom from the past so that we can see the present with more clarity. Getting emotionally honest with ourselves is the key to clearing our inner channel to Truth. It is necessary for us to be willing to heal our emotional wounds in order to open up to Love – to tune into the higher vibrational energy of Love and Joy.

As with everything else in life, there are different levels of grieving – and different stages of grief.

The deep grieving of sobbing and crying and snot clogging up our nose, is an incredibly powerful part of the healing process – that can bring wondrous relief, and physical exhaustion in it’s aftermath. Normally after a session of deep grieving a person will feel lighter – sometimes immediately, sometimes the next day – because some energy they have been carrying has been released.

The explosive release of this deep grief when done in a healing framework – that is when we accept and own it as opposed to shaming ourselves and apologizing for it – is a very powerful part of the healing process. It is terrifying to our ego because it feels like a complete loss of control. Our ego programming is to stop it, to stuff it.

When our deep grief issues are triggered and we are at the point where our voice starts breaking, we automatically shut down – we close our throat and stop breathing, or go to very shallow breathing. This is the point where it is so important to learn to breathe directly into the energy so that we can start releasing it. When we take deep breaths into the grief energy, it starts breaking up and little balls of energy are released. That is what sobs are – little balls of energy.

The more we have integrated a Loving Spiritual belief system into our relationship with life and with our own emotions, the easier it becomes to align with healing through grieving instead of aligning with the false beliefs that it is weak to cry, that it is shameful to lose control.

Illusion of Control

“The original wound, which I will discuss a little later, had the effect of creating a Spiritually hostile condition on this planet. That Spiritually hostile condition then became a cause with many consequences.

One of the most devastating of these consequences, or effects, was that human beings began to express emotions in destructive ways. Because the channel between Spiritual Self and human self was disrupted by planetary condition, the human ego began to develop the belief that it was separate from other humans and from the Source. This belief in separation made violence possible.

The violence, caused by the false belief, meant that humans could no longer enjoy a free-flowing emotional process. As a consequence, emotionally-repressive environments evolved in the social systems on this planet. Human beings were forced to adopt defense systems that included the belief that emotions were negative and had to be suppressed and controlled. This was necessary in order for human beings to live together in communities that would insure the survival of the human race.

It is not necessary any longer! And it is dysfunctional.

The act of suppressing emotions was always dysfunctional in its effect on the emotional, mental, and Spiritual health of the individual being. It was only functional in terms of physical survival of the species.

We now have clearer access to Spiritual healing energy and guidance which allows us to become aligned with Truth so that emotions will not be expressed in destructive ways. We have the tools, knowledge, and guidance to allow emotional healing to take place, to allow the individual to enjoy the flow of healthy emotional process.”

The reality of the dynamics of emotional energy is that the more we try to control and deny it based upon an intellectual paradigm that is reversed to Love, the more likely it is to manifest at the worst times and in the most destructive manner.

Emotions are a vital part of our being. To suppress emotions is dysfunctional – it does not work. Any time we are trying to maintain emotional control out of our damaged ego programming – that is based upon separation, shame about being human, and fear – we are doing damage to our being.  When we are relating to life out of our ego programming and wounding from childhood, when we haven’t integrated a Loving Spiritual Belief system into our relationship with self and life, then our being is a closed system not open to the flow of Life Force Energy – our inner channel is blocked so we are not open to intuitive guidance and Spiritual sustenance from our Higher Self / Spirit.  With any closed system, rather it be the engine of your car or your own being, neglecting and denying the importance of one aspect of the internal dynamic will cause damage – kind like what will happen when you run your car without oil. The system will break down.

“Emotional honesty is absolutely vital to the health of the being. Denying, distorting, and blocking our emotions in reaction to false beliefs and dishonest attitudes causes emotional and mental disease. This emotional and mental disease causes physical, biological imbalance which produces physical disease.”

Emotional energy cannot just disappear, it can transform but it can’t disappear. One of the causes of violence in the human experience is the human survival mechanism that allows human beings to transform the energy of fear or pain into anger.

“One of the basic survival mechanism of human beings in the hostile environment that was manifested on this planet . . . . . . . was the ability to turn the lower vibrational emotional energies of fear, sadness, hurt, shame, etc., into anger. . . . . . . . anger is a higher vibrational emotional energy and therefore carries more energy mass. In other words, anger feels strong and powerful, while sadness, fear, etc., do not. In order to survive, human beings had the capacity to turn fear into anger to fight off threats to safety.

[This ability is functional in terms of survival but dysfunctional in terms of emotional balance and human interaction. It is one of the residues of survival programming – an important tool when reacting to the sudden presence of a saber-toothed tiger – that causes males (and some females) who are emotionally crippled because of societal dysfunction and emotional dishonesty, to act out violently.)” – Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective Chapter 4

This transformation of the excruciating pain of our broken hearts and wounded souls – and the fear of more wounding – into anger is more prevalent with men because men have traditionally been taught that anger is the only acceptable emotion for a real man. So, it is more often men who “go postal” and act out in anger in a variety of manifestations from road rage to domestic violence.

“Repressed emotions explode outward in violence and war, in carnage and rape. We are raping the planet we live on, we are raping ourselves. Any emotional explosion outward in an act of violence is an act of violence against Self.”

Women, who have traditionally been taught that anger is not acceptable, tend to turn anger back in on themselves. This is of course a generalization – and one that is changing as the societal role models for masculine and feminine change.

“In this society, in a general sense, the men have been traditionally taught to be primarily aggressive, the “John Wayne” syndrome, while women have been taught to be self-sacrificing and passive. But that is a generalization; it is entirely possible that you came from a home where your mother was John Wayne and your father was the self-sacrificing martyr.”

Codependency is an emotional defense system which was adapted by our damaged egos to try to maintain emotional control. The ego fights ferociously to maintain control because it got the message that our survival depended upon that illusion of control. It is an illusion because in the long term that defense system is self destructive – and actually is the greater threat to our survival. Our codependent defense system will kill us eventually unless we start changing that ego programming and learn how to release the emotional energy in a healthy way.

Though a certain percentage of the population does at some point reach a point of critical mass and manifest that repressed emotional energy in an external explosion – most of us turn it back on ourselves.

“Repressed emotions implode, explode inward to cause the system to become dysfunctional. In the individual being this manifests as disease – emotional, mental, and physical disease. In larger systems, in families, in societies, that dysfunction manifests as child abuse and incest, as crime and poverty, homelessness and pollution.”

Depression and anxiety disorders, environmental illness and post traumatic stress disorder, self mutilation and obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, are some of the effects of our dysfunctional attempts to control emotions.

It is possible to have some control over our emotions that is functional – that does work in terms of the health of our being. That control does not entail suppressing and denying the emotions – damming the energy. It involves honoring and respecting the emotional component of our being.

By changing our relationship with our own emotions through changing the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs – the intellectual paradigm that we are allowing to define our life experience – to one that is aligned with Love and ONENESS rather than separation and fear, we can start to achieve some emotional honesty and balance.

The first step in changing our relationship with our emotions, is to recognize and admit that we are not in control of this life business. We are powerless to control life out of our ego – because it is not possible for us to control life period. We can have some control over some aspects of our life by owning our power as the co-creator of our human experience, but we are not in control of life – we are not writing the script here.

We need to let go of the illusion that it is possible to control life and open up to – remember – that there is a Higher Power, a Universal Source Energy, that is in control. Recognizing our powerlessness and surrendering the illusion of control allows us to align with the Higher Power so that we an start to learn to have some Loving control over our emotions. That Loving control over our emotions will allow us to release the energy in a healing growth framework that will take the power away from the repressed emotional energy from our past in a gradual, healthy grieving process.

The more we align ourselves attitudinally with Spiritual Self instead of ego self, the more we can open up to releasing this energy as a good thing, as a healing, Loving thing to do for ourselves. The more willing we become to surrender to allowing the emotional energy to flow, the easier it becomes to own this grief that is ours, to own our self and our emotional wounds. We are not in control – there is a Loving Higher Power who is in control.

The feeling of being out of control is terrifying to our egos. It is our ego programming and it’s efforts to control that are killing us – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. By learning to let go of our illusion of control we can start to open up to Love – and start having faith that the Force is with us and will not give us more than we can handle.

We also have a built in safety valve. Our nose gets plugged up and we have to stop to blow our nose. We can cry and sob until a certain point and then we have to blow our noses. We can then cry and sob some more – but it is never going to get too out of control just because of our physical reality.

The effect is that this deep grieving comes out in short bursts. Each time we do some deep grieving about a specific issue, we are releasing some of the pent up energy. The next time we touch on that issue, it will have less power than the time before. Eventually, we will heal that specific wound enough so that there is not enough repressed energy left to produce sobs.

A Parents Nightmare

As an example of how this process works, I had the opportunity some years ago to work with a woman in her seventies who was living her life in a very controlled and isolated manner. She had a whole lifetime of grief issues she was suppressing, but there was one issue – as it often the case – that was the key to unlocking the rest of the issues.

This woman, some twenty years earlier, had experienced an incredibly traumatic life event. Her daughter had been murdered by a serial killer. She had been awakened at 3 or 4 in the morning with the worst kind of phone call a parent can imagine.

When I began working with her, she could not – and would not – even talk about this issue because it was too painful for her. As we worked through other grief issues from her childhood and early life, we gradually moved closer to focusing on this specific issue.

Once we did start to open up this wound, she experienced wrenching grief in reliving that event. But in any one session of that grief group she was in, the actual deep grieving part of the process – the sobbing and crying and snot running out of the nose portion – only lasted a short time. Typically, the deepest sobbing and crying may last 5 to 10 minutes – to be followed by a series of aftershocks like an earthquake, gradually getting less intense as we process through the feelings.

We are never given more than we can handle – though it can certainly feel like it. Opening up to those wounds does not cause us – as I felt would happen to me – to be locked in a rubber room the rest of our life crying.

Of course, in an emotionally dishonest society, it can cause people who have not done their grief work to want desperately to get you under control – with drugs usually, and possibly with institutionalization. That is one of the reasons it is so helpful to have a counselor / therapist / healer to facilitate the work that has worked through their own issues so that the explosive release of the deep grief does not terrify them into shaming you, or giving the message that you are doing something wrong.

“Someone who has not done her/his own emotionally healing grief work cannot guide you through yours. Or as John Bradshaw put it in his excellent PBS series on reclaiming the inner child, “No one can lead you somewhere that they haven’t been.””

The deep grieving can sometimes be almost like an exorcism in the release of the pent up energy, and can lead into areas such as past lives – so it is important to have someone who is open minded and not afraid of the grief to help you through your process. It is very scary stuff – but the process is unfolding perfectly and your Higher Power will provide the help you need at the time you need it. (This does not necessarily mean at the time you think you need it – part of the process is trusting our Higher Selves, our intuition to guide us – and being willing to do our part in the process, which includes taking action to align with recovery and being willing to plunge into the unknown.)

This woman went through perhaps half a dozen sessions of the really deep intense grieving, each time taking a little more power away from the issue – releasing a little more of the pent up energy.

The grieving included owning her anger at her daughter for abandoning her. (As I said in Chapter 1 of my online book, grief is about us, about our loss – it is not really about the other person, or how the other person died.) And owning her anger at God for allowing such things to happen. It also included letting go of the guilt that she was carrying because her of codependence. With any issue we blame ourselves because of our childhood wounding, because of the toxic shame from childhood that programmed us to feel like “bad” things happen us because something is wrong with us. It was because she had done some healing of that toxic shame that she was able to start dealing with this issue. She had started to change the subconscious programming from childhood that had given her the message that if her life was anything other than “happily ever after” it was somehow her fault. That in turn, allowed her to let go of the false beliefs and unhealthy guilt that told her she should have, or could have, done something to prevent her daughters death.

What eventually started happening was that the woman could remember good things about her daughter. Because she was no longer denying and avoiding the grief, she was able to start owning how much she loved her daughter in a healthy way with clearer vision. She started to allow herself to own the good memories that were the gift of having shared a relationship with the Soul that had inhabited her daughters body vehicle.

The memory was still painful, and will probably bring tears to her eyes and a catch in her throat almost every time thoughts of her daughter rise in her consciousness. Our wounds don’t go away. We don’t heal an issue and never feel pain around it again. What we do is release the grief so that we are not avoiding and denying part of our reality because of our terror of the pent up energy. By being willing to do the grief work we get to reclaim our life experiences in a more Loving, healing, and forgiving framework – change our relationship with life events because we are not allowing the grief to dictate and define our lives any more.

When I said at the beginning of my online book that Dan Rather could have been a role model for others by allowing himself to own his grief – actually sobbing and crying – I was talking about a few moments of emotional honesty, not hours of it. Allowing ourselves to own the grief does not cause us to lose control – it causes us to feel like we are losing control for a few moments.

By learning to allow ourselves to release that pent up pressurized energy in a healing context, we can be empowered to stop letting the past dictate our lives today.

Subconscious Programming

“The next time something does not go the way you wanted it to, or just when you are feeling low, ask yourself how old you are feeling. What you might find is that you are feeling like a bad little girl, a bad little boy, and that you must have done something wrong because it feels like you are being punished.

Just because it feels like you are being punished does not mean that is the Truth. Feelings are real – they are emotional energy that is manifested in our body – but they are not necessarily fact.

What we feel is our “emotional truth” and it does not necessarily have anything to do with either facts or the emotional energy that is Truth with a capital “T” – especially when we our reacting out of an age of our inner child.

If we are reacting out of what our emotional truth was when we were five or nine or fourteen, then we are not capable of responding appropriately to what is happening in the moment; we are not being in the now.

When we are reacting out of old tapes based on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings cannot be trusted.”

Another benefit of releasing the suppressed energy, of doing the deep grieving, is that often it is only in during the grieving that we get in touch with subconscious programming that is dictating some aspect of our relationship with life. Attitudes we adapted in childhood – sometimes promises we made to ourselves – are included in that subconscious programming, and can have great power which we cannot overcome until we get in touch with them.

In the first long term relationship (long term for me being 2 years) I got into in recovery, I realized that setting a boundary in an intimate relationship felt to me like I was being a perpetrator. My role models in childhood presented me with two options for behavior in a romantic relationship – a self sacrificing martyr with no boundaries, and a raging verbally abusive perpetrator. I hated the pain caused by the perpetrator, so I became a martyr who did not know how to set boundaries. Setting boundaries for me, with my significant other, felt like I was being abusive.

It was only when I got aware of this programming that I could start changing it. A great example of how this works is the brief case study that I shared in my series on the True Nature of Love.

“We cannot get clearly in touch with the subconscious programming without doing the grief work. The subconscious intellectual programming is tied to the emotional wounds we suffered and many years of suppressing those feelings has also buried the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that are connected to those emotional wounds. It is possible to get intellectually aware of some of them through such tools as hypnosis, or having a therapist or psychic or energy healer tell us they are there – but we cannot really understand how much power they carry without feeling the emotional context – and cannot change them without reducing the emotional charge / releasing the emotional energy tied to them. Knowing they are there will not make them go away.

A good example of how this works is a man that I worked with some years ago. He came to me in emotional agony because his wife was leaving him. He was adamant that he did not want a divorce and kept saying how much he loved his wife and how he could not stand to lose his family (he had a daughter about 4.) I told him the first day he came in that the pain he was suffering did not really have that much to do with his wife and present situation – but was rooted in some attitude from his childhood. But that did not mean anything to him on a practical level, on a level of being able to let go of the attitude that was causing him so much pain. It was only while doing his childhood grief work that he got in touch with the pain of his parents divorce when he was 10 years old. In the midst of doing that grief work the memory of promising himself that he would never get a divorce, and cause his child the kind of pain he was experiencing, surfaced. Once he had gotten in touch with, and released, the emotional charge connected to the idea of divorce, he was able to look at his present situation more clearly. Then he could see that the marriage had never been a good one – that he had sacrificed himself and his own needs from the beginning to comply with his dream / concept of what a marriage should be. He could then see that staying in the marriage was not serving him or his daughter. Once he got past the promise he made to himself in childhood, he was able to let go of his wife and start building a solid relationship with his daughter based on the reality of today instead of the grief of the past.

It was the idea / concept of his wife, of marriage, that he had been unable to let go of – not the actual person. By changing his intellectual concept / belief, he was able to get clear on what the reality of the situation was and sever the emotional energy chains / cords that bound him to the situation and to his wife. He was then able to let go of giving away power over his self-esteem (part of his self-esteem was based on keeping his promise to himself) to a situation / person that he could not control. He gained the wisdom / clarity to discern the difference between what he had some power to change and what he needed to accept. He could not change his wife’s determination to get a divorce but he could change his attitude toward that divorce – once he changed the subconscious emotional programming connected to the concept.

It is letting go of the dream, the idea / concept, of the relationship that causes the most grief in every relationship break up that I have ever worked with.” – The True Nature of Love – part 4, Energetic Clarity

Feeling Sad

There is also a shallower level of grieving, that is just about owning our sadness.

“It was on Christmas Day in 1987 that I got clear on something that I hadn’t really realized before in relationship to my emotional process.

I was consciously grieving by that time – by which I mean that I was owning my sadness. One of the ways that I had controlled and contained my emotions was to analyze them. It had not been ok for me to feel feelings until I understood where they were coming from, what they were attached to – so I kept the feelings at bay by intellectualizing about them. I would analyze and rationalize, and then when I had figured out that I indeed had a good enough reason to feel something, I would allow myself a few moments of feeling – maybe do some writing about it – and then think I was done with it. My issues were like boxes of old news that I looked through briefly and then put on the shelf thinking I had dealt with them sufficiently. The later part of 1987 was when the boxes started falling off the shelf and smacking me upside the head.

By Christmas of 87 I had gotten far enough along in my process to just allow myself to feel sad. I no longer bought into the fallacy that I had to know specifically what I was sad about. I would say to myself; “I feel sad. I have plenty of reason to feel sad. It is OK to feel sad.”

I was doing what I had never known how to do before – just being with the feelings. I had always done something to try to escape the feelings, it was a very important step for me to just allow myself to feel them – to own them and know that they were mine and I had, not only a right, but an obligation to just feel them.

I was doing the shallower level of grieving at that point. It wasn’t the deep grieving with crying and sobbing – it was just about feeling sad and allowing myself to feel that sadness.

On Christmas Day that year, I went to various AA meetings and to some open houses – both at people’s homes and AA club houses. What I realized as I went through the day was that I was feeling more than one feeling at the same time. The feeling of sadness was there throughout the day, kind of an emotional blanket over the day. But when I saw people I cared about I was happy. I had many moments that day when I felt gratitude.

I really got clear on the reality that I could feel more than one feeling at once – a startling revelation at that point. It had been a long hard struggle just to get in touch with feelings as energy in my body, now I realized that I could feel several different types of these emotional energies at once. I could feel sad and grateful and happy all at the same time.

I had for some time been working on changing my perspective on my feelings. Telling myself that feeling the feelings was the goal and that I was grateful that I was capable of feeling miserable. By working on changing my attitudes towards my feelings I had started changing my relationship with them. I had begun to embrace my feelings instead of resisting and repressing them.

It was of course, easier to embrace the shallower level of grief than it was the deeply buried pain and rage that was soon to start surfacing – but it was definite progress. When I had first gotten sober, I had noticed a saying on some bumper stickers or wall hanging or someplace. That saying was “The pain is mandatory, the suffering is optional.” What I was really beginning to realize at this point in my process was that the suffering came about because of resistance to feeling the pain – and anger and fear. By changing my attitudes, I was changing my perspective and giving myself permission to feel the feelings. I was starting to allow them to flow instead of putting all my energy into damming them, suppressing them. That is where the suffering really comes from – denying my own emotional reality.

So, I was feeling the grief and doing some of what I thought of then as crying. At that time, crying to me meant tearing up. When I teared up and my voice cracked with emotion I considered that crying. Although I had done some deep grieving earlier in my recovery (the article on Grief, Love, and Fear of Intimacy, and the instance with the song from childhood) I wasn’t at that time thinking of doing that kind of CRYING as a goal of the process. I was still trying to avoid going into the depths of my feelings.

I think the main issue that I was grieving about as 87 ended and 88 began was being alone. I had felt so alone as a child – and because of my wounds, I had spent most of my adult life alone. – Joy2MeU Journal – My Spiritual Path: 30 Days in the Desert – Falling Apart and Breaking Through II

Many people when they first start to feel the grief, will say they are feeling depressed. What we call things has power – and it is important to start owning that we are involved in a healthy grieving process instead of the victim of depression.

Depression and grieving are two very different dynamics. Depression is an emotional state caused by anger that has been turned in on ourselves because of mental attitudes empowering the false belief that it is shameful to be an imperfect human. Owning our feelings by doing the grief work – especially the anger and rage portion of the grieving – is the way out of depression. Changing our relationship with life into one which defines life as a growth process with a Spiritual purpose rather than a test we can fail because we are flawed and imperfect, is a very large step towards starting to emerge from depression.

Just being able to say to ourselves (not necessarily to other people unless they are safe people to share with) “I am sad. I have good reasons to be sad. It is not only okay to be sad, it is healthy and part of owning my self to grieve for how painful my life experience has been.”

Owning our feelings is the only way to own our self. Owning and healing our self is the gateway to reconnecting with our Spiritual Self so that we can starting owning the Unconditional Love that is available to us. So that we can change our relationship with self into one that is based upon Love instead of shame about being human.

“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.”

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site and in my book Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. Learning to have internal boundaries so that we can integrate Spiritual Truth into our internal process and change our relationship with our own emotions is vital to learning to gain some freedom from the past and find the ability to have the ability to experience some Joy in a life journey that is an adventure instead of an agony of endurance and survival.

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.  And I also offer periodic day long workshops in San Diego to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

Right now I have some special offers for both telephone counseling and my next workshop on May 4th here in San Diego that I have just extended. That special offers page also contains special offers for my books, MP3 downloads, and the subscription areas of my site.  The online book Attack on America: A Spiritual Healing Perspective is available in both subscription areas. The story of My Spiritual Path is available in the Joy2MeU Journal. While the 6 part True Nature of Love series of articles is available in the subscription area known as Dancing in Light.


Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in my book from: Bradshaw On Homecoming “Reclaiming and Championing you Inner Child”, a PBS series by John Bradshaw.  Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by permission of John Bradshaw 2412 South Boulevard, Houston Tx 77098.

Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

“It is also a vital part of the process to learn discernment. To learn to ask for help and guidance from people who are trustworthy, that means people who will not betray, abandon, shame, and abuse you.  That means friends who will not abuse and betray you.  That means counselors and therapists who will not judge and shame you and project their issues onto you.

(I believe that the cases of “false memories” that are getting a lot of publicity these days are in reality cases of emotional incest – which is rampant in our society and can be devastating to a person’s relationship with his/her own sexuality – that are being misunderstood and misdiagnosed as sexual abuse by therapists who have not done their own emotional healing and project their own issues of emotional incest and/or sexual abuse onto their patients).

Someone who has not done her/his own emotionally healing grief work cannot guide you through yours.  Or as John Bradshaw put it in his excellent PBS series on reclaiming the inner child, “No one can lead you somewhere that they haven’t been.”” – Quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

In his PBS series on healing the inner child, John Bradshaw talked about how important it is to choose counselors and therapists who have done their own emotional healing.  He stated that he had been in recovery for 10 years and counseling for that period of time before he started doing the emotional healing.  Prior to starting that process if someone he was working with started to get emotional, he would immediately take steps to pull them out of the emotions back onto an intellectual level.

One of the most important things to check out when you are interviewing a new counselor / therapist – is whether they have done any emotional healing.  If they have not done any grief and anger work – actual emotional release work involving the deep grieving of sobs and snot running out the nose, and anger work, beating on cushions while they shout out their rage – then they will not want you to get emotional.  Doing the deep emotional work can be terrifying – and unless the person who is facilitating your work has been through it themselves, they will be scared by your emotions.  They will try to get you back into an intellectual framework – and many of them will tell you that you need to go on medication.

Too often, when we start counseling or therapy, we feel it is somehow shameful, or weak, because of our cultural programming – and come kind of hat in hand, as it were.  We come to the professional from a place of hoping they won’t tell us we are the sickest person they have ever met, and there is nothing they can do for us – or at least that was what I was sure was going to happen.

It is important to remember that the person going to the therapist is the employer.  You are the one doing the job interview with the power to decide who gets the job.  You are the one that is going to be paying for services and you have a right to ask any questions you need to – including what healing they have done personally.  Because someone has degrees, credentials, and is licensed does not mean they have done any healing on a personal level.  In an emotionally dysfunctional society, the standards used to judge qualifications are based on the dysfunctional, emotionally dishonest standards of the society.

My first experience of going to a licensed therapist in my recovery from codependence, was a very telling one.  I went to a therapist that was recommended by a friend.  I told her that I wanted to deal with emotional enmeshment issues with my mother.   The third session I had with this person, she delightedly told me that she wanted to line me up with a blind date.  A blind date with someone who worked for her husband, who had his office in their home as she did.  Duh!  The therapist I am seeing to sort out emotional enmeshment issues wants to line me up on a blind date – absolutely inappropriate and very codependent, thinking a relationship would fix me – with someone who works for her husband in the same building we are in – talk about enmeshing and incestuous.

She could not understand why I was upset.  I left that day, and went home to process what had just happened.  In processing through the issue, it was obvious to me how inappropriate and unhealthy this therapist was.  So, I called her up that evening and fired her.  I was very proud of myself because I did not buy into the guilt trips she laid on me as she tried to convince me that I was the one with the problem and that there was nothing wrong with her suggestion.

There is no one as good as a therapist at turning issues back on you so that it seems to be all your problem.  Therapist can be very difficult people to have personal relationships with – unless they are working an honest recovery program, and sometimes even then.  And if they are not involved in a personal recovery program, it is inevitable they will project their issues and judgments onto their patients.  Even therapists who are seeing another therapist for supervision, can only be as healthy as the belief systems which he/she and the supervising therapist are empowering.  And if those belief systems do not include an understanding of the importance of emotional healing, they will not be able to help someone do the emotional healing.

Another experience came shortly after I had started in a therapist position at an outpatient chemical dependence program in Van Nuys California in 1987.  One evening in a Family Group I was talking about how grateful I was to be in recovery and I teared up from joy – I didn’t cry, just teared up.  The next week the Clinical Director – my supervising therapist – came marching into our office and proceeded to lecture me about getting emotional in front of the clients.  This psychiatrist, who was on anti-depressants because he was suicidal over a relationship breakup, warned me to never let it happen again.

Often the more credentials someone has, the more tendency they have to wear blinders.  To see things only within the traditional paradigm – which labels and pigeon holes individuals – and more often than not, discounts emotions while worshiping chemicals.

Allow your Spirit guide you – not your shame.  Talk to a person, meet with them, and see how you feel about them.  Do they feel like someone you can trust?  Does what they have to say resonate?  Do you feel like they are really hearing you?  Are they empowering a belief system that is black and white, right and wrong?  (If they are, they will judge you.)  Do they talk to you – or down to you?

It is your choice.  You are the one holding the audition.  Going to see a counselor or therapist can be a very important and invaluable experience – but it is important to remember that choosing a therapist is not a commitment to them, it is a commitment to you.”

This article is part of a longer web article on my site entitled Inner Child Healing – Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in my book from: Bradshaw On Homecoming “Reclaiming and Championing you Inner Child”, a PBS series by John Bradshaw.  Reprinted in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by permission of John Bradshaw 2412 South Boulevard, Houston Tx 77098.