Chapter 19 – Taking self worth out of the Romantic equation

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“One of the false beliefs that it is important to let go of, is the belief that we need another person in our lives to make us whole. As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims.

A white knight is not going to come charging up to rescue us from the dragon. A princess is not going to kiss us and turn us from a frog into a prince. The Prince and the Princess and the Dragon are all within us. It is not about someone outside of us rescuing us. It is also not about some dragon outside of us blocking our path. As long as we are looking outside to become whole we are setting ourselves up to be victims. As long as we are looking outside for the villain we are buying into the belief that we are the victim.

As little kids we were victims and we need to heal those wounds. But as adults we are volunteers – victims only of our disease. The people in our lives are actors and actresses whom we cast in the roles that would recreate the childhood dynamics of abuse and abandonment, betrayal and deprivation.

We are/have been just as much perpetrators in our adult relationships as victims. Every victim is a perpetrator – because when we are buying into being the victim, when we are giving power to our disease, we are perpetrating on the people around us and on ourselves.

We need to heal the wounds without blaming others. And we need to own the responsibility without blaming ourselves. As was stated earlier – there is no blame here, there are no bad guys. The only villain here is the disease and it is within us.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

I state in my book that codependence is a lousy word to describe the phenomena it has come to be associated with. A more accurate term would be outer or external dependence. We are programmed to give power over our sense of self worth – over how we feel about our self – to external sources and outside conditions.

Nowhere is the result of this programming more disastrous on a personal level than in the area of romantic relationships. Our subconscious and emotional programming started with fairy tales that taught us that when we meet our prince or princess we will live happily-ever-after. Movies and books and songs reinforced the original programming that in order to be whole and happy we must be in a relationship.

The result of this programming is that we are set up to feel like failures in romantic relationships. When we give power over how we feel about our self to another person in a romantic relationship we are practicing toxic love – making the other person our drug of choice, our higher power.

A healthy romantic relationship is an interdependent relationship – not a codependent one. An interdependent relationship is one where two people who have a healthy sense of Self worth, choose to become partners, to form a union. Two whole individuals – or more accurately (since as I have stated, we are all wounded and learning to access a True sense of self/Self worth) two people who are in recovery from their codependency working on owning their inherent worth and wholeness as beings, working on learning to be emotionally healthy and honest – who form an alliance / partnership with each other, not two half people who come together to feel whole.

In a healthy interdependent relationship as I mentioned in Chapter 9, we give the other person some power over our feelings – not over our self worth. Giving another person some power over our feelings is a completely different thing than giving them power over our self worth.

When we choose to give power away over our feelings we give the other person the power to help us feel happy. That also means we are giving them the power to hurt us. Caring for anyone or anything means we have an emotional investment in our relationship with that person or thing. To emotionally invest in a relationship is to take the risk of getting hurt – of getting our hearts broken – if we lose that relationship.

But it is not having our heart broken – it is not pure grief / emotional pain – that can be so debilitating, paralyzing, and agonizing when a relationship ends. It is the loss of self worth that we feel – the level to which we have invested, are dependent upon, the relationship to feel good about ourselves – that causes us to feel like we are going to die, that can make us feel like we want to die. The blame and shame and judgment caused by our codependency creates artificial feelings of inadequacy, of trauma, of agony. The unresolved abandonment / rejection / betrayal issues from our childhood are triggered and throw us into a place where we feel the hopelessness and powerlessness that we felt as a child.

The critical parent disease voice – old tapes / subconscious and conscious intellectual ego programming – tells us what losers and failures we are. The wounded inner child places react out of pain and shame from our childhood – the places within us where we feel unlovable and defective. We blame ourselves for the relationship ending with codependent messages like: if only I had not said that; I should have done that; I will never have a good relationship; I will always be alone; etc. Or we go to the other extreme and try to blame it all on the other person. People stalk and murder ex lovers because of the blow they feel they have suffered to their self worth – because they feel they have lost the source / drug that was making life bearable.

Getting our hearts broken is a normal and natural part of life. Blaming our self or the other person is codependency. The emotional pain of a heart break is very painful, but it gets better over time. The blame and shame of codependency causes us to be bitter and resentful, causes us to avoid relationships or to pick another person who will recreate our wounds – another person to try to fill the hole we feel inside of our self.

“Loving and losing is better than never loving” when all we experience is a broken heart. It is the blame and shame of the disease that makes us feel like failures who are incapable of loving – like a victim of our own unworthiness.

At the end of 1998, when I had reached a place in my recovery where I was secure in my self/Self worth, the Universe presented me with an opportunity to experience a romantic relationship in which my worst fear of rejection seemed to manifest – and I did not blame her or me. It was an incredible experience – very painful, but also very liberating.

“It Truly is a completely different experience to have a relationship where my self-worth is not at risk . . . . . if my self-worth is not at risk then another person can only add to me, they have no power to diminish me. What a gift.” – An Adventure in Romance – Loving and Losing Successfully

As that relationship was ending, before it ended, I wrote what I think is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever written which I mentioned in a previous chapter and will include as the next chapter. It is called: A Wedding Prayer /Meditation on Romantic Commitment.

“You are not the source of each other’s Love. You are helping each other to access the LOVE that is the Source.

The Love that you see when you see your soul in the others eyes is a reflection of the LOVE that you are. Of the Unconditional Love that the Great Spirit feels for you.

It is very important to remember that the other person is helping you to access God’s LOVE within you – not giving you something that you have never had before.” – Chapter 20 A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment

Anytime we see another person as our source of love, we will feel a need to control and manipulate that person to be what we want them to be – to be there for us to feed off of emotionally so we can feel good about our self. There is nothing Loving about using another person emotionally because we do not know how to feed ourselves by accessing the True Source.

Love can feel magical and wonderful – can help us feel like we are soaring as the other person helps us to access the higher vibrational frequencies of Love and Joy. To have the opportunity to experience Love is one of the major reasons we have come into human body – but thinking a romantic relationship is what give us worth is codependent and dysfunctional. Romantic relationships can be wonderful opportunities for growth and Spiritual Awakening when we start seeing them realistically, when we stop allowing the perspective of the magical thinking romantic within us to dictate our relationship with romance.

“You are not going to live happily-ever-after once you find your prince or princess. There is no happily-ever-after on this plane of existence. You may find your prince or princess but they will have issues to deal with. Relationships are something that needs to be worked on – not some magic wand that makes everybody happy.” – Chapter 9 Interdependent, not codependent”

From Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 19 – Taking self worth out of the Romantic equation

Sacred Spiral

If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop.   If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self having problems with communicating and reactions – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together.  I have posted a page with special offers for my February 20th workshop.

If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com, Amazon.UK, or Barnes & Noble.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon, on Amazon UK, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK, on Barnes & Noble, or in Kobo format.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

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Chapter 12 of The Greatest Arena – Partners in the Journey “My issues are my responsibility”

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“It is through healing our inner child, our inner children, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior pattern

That does not mean that the wounds will ever be completely healed.  There will always be a tender spot, a painful place within us due to the experiences that we have had.  What it does mean is that we can take the power away from those wounds.   By bringing them out of the darkness into the Light, by releasing the energy, we can heal them enough so that they do not have the power to dictate how we live our lives today.  We can heal them enough to change the quality of our lives dramatically.  We can heal them enough to Truly be happy, Joyous and free in the moment most of the time.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

A healthy romantic relationship is about two whole, independent people choosing to become partners in the life journey for as long as that works for both of them.  This is, of course, a theoretical concept.  Because of the cultural dysfunction and emotional trauma all of us have experienced due to the human condition, we are never, in this lifetime, going to be a completely healthy person with no emotional wounds – and we are never going to meet someone else that has no emotional wounds.

The goal is to be in the process of healing and to choose a partner who is also in the process of healing.  Then we have the opportunity to achieve some True emotional intimacy and to have some companionship on our journey.  The person who can support us in our journey is also going to be the teacher we need to push our buttons so that we can bring to Light the emotional wounds that need to be healed and the subconscious programming that needs to be changed.

If we expect a romantic relationship to “fix” us so that we can live happily-ever-after then we are setting ourselves up to be victims.  If we define a successful relationship as one that lasts forever and meets all of our needs then we will end up blaming ourselves or the other person when that insane expectation is not met. (That a relationship could last for the rest of our lives is not an insane expectation – that someone else can meet all of our needs, all of the time, is – but if we believe that longevity is the only way a relationship can be successful we are setting ourselves up to sabotage the relationship and not appreciate the gifts we are receiving in the now.)

It is vitally important to make healing and Spiritual growth our number one priority so that we can look to the other person for help and support – not expect them to rescue us and give us self worth.  Healing is an inside job.   My issues are my responsibility to work through, it is not the other persons job to compromise her self to accommodate my fears and insecurities.  If I am choosing wisely when I enter into a relationship then I will choose someone who will be compassionate, patient, and supportive of me while I work through my issues.

And no matter how wisely I choose, or how much healing and recovery the other person has had, she will still be a human being with her own issues to work through so she will not always be able to be compassionate, patient, and supportive.  For one person to expect another to always be there for them, to always have the space and time to be available to us, is an insane expectation.

We do want to choose someone who is willing to work through issues.  When another person is willing to do the work with us, a relationship can be an incredibly nurturing, magical space to explore what True Love means – some of the time.  It can not be that all of the time.  There might be periods of time – days, weeks, even months – where things are going beautifully and it feels like we may have reached happily-ever-after.  But then things will change and get different.  That is how the life process works – it will not be someone’s fault.  It will be a new opportunity for growth for both people.

Two people who are working through their issues and are willing to do the grief work, can turn an argument about some stupid, mundane life event into some mutual deep grieving.  That is True emotional intimacy.

When we are willing to own our power to be the neutral observer who can see our responsibility in whatever is happening without shame and judgment, and can also have the courage and willingness to hold the other person responsible for their behavior without shame and judgment – then the magic can really happen.

Two people who have negotiated some guidelines to help them in times when they are vulnerable and reactive – can transform an argument about some symptom into an opportunity to heal some core wounding.

The way that can look is:  an argument/disagreement starts about some behavior that is upsetting (someone is late, or forgets something that is important to the other, or says something in an insensitive way, etc.);  at some point one of the individuals says “Time out.  I think I might be reacting to some old stuff.”;  The other person backs off the argument enough to say “How old are you feeling?”;  etc.  Two people who have created the space to do this can then get down to the cause underneath the reaction, which might be something like:  one person is reacting out of the child inside who never felt important, respected, or heard – while the other person is reacting out of the inner child who was always being criticized and given the message that there was something wrong with them.  At that point, they are dealing with the core cause of the reaction not the symptomatic behavior.  They can achieve a place of True emotional honesty and intimacy where they can get in touch with their individual wounds and grieve together.  That is the kind of emotional intimacy which can form a very deep bond and be Joyously healing for both people.

To be willing to be conscious and emotionally honest with ourselves is a courageous act of faith that will allow us to progressively increase the number of moments in each day that we have the ability and freedom to be happy and Joyous in the now.  To find another being who is willing to join us in this adventure, and to explore True emotional intimacy with us, is a priceless gift to be cherished and treasured.” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 12 – Partners in the Journey

If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop.   If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self having problems with communicating and reactions – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together.  I have posted a page with special offers for my February 15th workshop.

If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon  and on Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.

Chapter 10 of The Greatest Arena – Communication is Key “What did you just hear me say?”

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“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.

When we are reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing in the moment.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

The single most important component in a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate.  If two people have the capacity to communicate with each other, then any issue can be worked through to some kind of clarity.

For the purpose of this discussion I am going to divide communication into two levels: surface communication having to do with ideas, facts, details, concepts, etc. – and emotional communication.  In reality, of course, all communication contains aspects of both levels – and in relationship, the emotional level is by far the most important and most difficult.

In terms of surface communication, it is very important to establish a common language.  And I am not talking here about one person speaking English and one speaking French.  I am talking about two people who speak the same language linguistically but have different interpretations of various words due to a variety of factors – i.e. raised in different geographic, religious, or cultural environments, different educational or economic levels, different life experiences, etc.  Two people who are on Spiritual paths might speak a different language because one has been involved in Twelve Step Recovery while another has been pursuing a Shamanistic path or Buddhist or whatever.

It is very important, right from the beginning of the relationship to strive for clarity in communication.  The single most useful tool is simply to ask.  “How do you define that word?” or “What did you just hear me say?”  Very often, you will find that what the other person heard was not what you were attempting to convey.  Attempting to clarify and develop a common language lays a good foundation for further communication.

It is also vital to recognize that certain words are emotional trigger words.

“One of the greatest blocks to communication is that some words are emotionally charged.  They are words that trigger an automatic emotional reaction within us.  To use a trigger word in an argument – a word such as “controlling” or “manipulative” – can turn a discussion into a battle instantly.  When someone flings a trigger word at us, or we at them, it is like we have just shot an arrow into them.  It usually causes them to go on the defensive and start flinging some arrows back at us – or perhaps go into some other defensive mode, such as crying or walking out.

Using trigger words blocks communication.  And we usually use them consciously (although we certainly may not be honest enough to admit it at the time – or even later, depending on the level of our recovery.)  We use them in reaction – because we have been hurt or are scared, because we are trying manipulate and control the other person.  (Using a word like “manipulate” or “control” to describe someone else’s behavior to them, is almost always an attempt to control and manipulate the person we are accusing of that behavior.)

For the purposes of this discussion, what is important is to realize that trigger words fall into realm of cause and effect.  We are born with a certain personality – we are not born with certain words programmed as emotional triggers.  Emotional triggers fall entirely in the province of experience.  We have an emotional charge attached to certain words because of our life experience.  In other words, we have a relationship to that word that is a result of emotional experiences in our life.” – Spirituality for Agnostics and Atheists 

It is really important to identify what each person’s emotional trigger words are in order to be able to communicate – in order to avoid automatic reactions based upon the past.  Old wounds and old tapes cause us to have emotional trigger words and it is vitally important to get conscious of what our own personal ones are so that we can learn to be less reactive – and to get in touch with what our partner’s trigger words are so that we can avoid them when possible.  (i.e. In my early recovery I worked to stop calling myself “stupid” so much and changed it to “silly” because that felt gentler to me.  For my wife however “silly” is a trigger word that feels worse to her than being called stupid.)

In terms of the emotional level of communication, there are many aspects to consider.  I will touch on a symptomatic one here in this article and then expand on the challenges of emotional intimacy in the next Chapter (Chapter 11 – Emotional Honesty Necessary.)

The symptomatic one is something that may seem simple but is actually one that relatively few people in our dysfunctional culture have mastered – the ability to listen.  In order to Truly listen it is necessary to be present – and the difficulty with being present is caused by unhealed emotional wounds.  If we are not able to be emotionally honest with ourselves then it is impossible to be present and comfortable in our own skins in the moment.  Obviously then, we are also incapable of being present with, and emotionally honest with, others.

Listening is far more than just the absence of talking or the appearance of paying attention.  Listening involves more than just hearing the words that another person is saying.  In order to Truly hear what another person is attempting to communicate, it is necessary to be tuned in to what is going on underneath the words.  Communication is only partly about content – just as important in communication are things like body language, eye contact, underlying emotional currents.

When we are present in our bodies in the moment and paying attention it is easy to discern if the other person is really talking to us – as opposed to talking at us, or telling a story.  In the beginning of any relationship, people tell each other stories about their past – it is part of getting to know each other.  What is important is to be able to be present while telling the story.  That involves not just  listening to the other person but also listening to ourselves.

Being present starts with being conscious of ourselves – it involves listening and paying attention to ourselves and our end of the communication.   If I am listening to myself while telling someone a story about my past, I can catch myself when I get to a part of the story that I have creatively embellished over the years.  As we learn and grow, our perspective of our past changes and it is very important to be able to listen to ourselves so that we can catch ourselves in places where we have exaggerated or rationalized something from our past.  One of the important parts of the healing process is telling our story – and if we just regurgitate an old tape by rote we are not being present and paying attention.

If we have the capacity to be present with ourselves while telling our story, that means we also have the capacity to be present with the other person.  I can be in the middle of telling a story and see in the other person’s eyes that they aren’t listening – which gives me the space to stop and ask what is going on.  If I am not present enough to see the other person isn’t listening then I am just talking at that person.  And conversely, if I am conscious I will be able to recognize when that person is talking at me.

Communication involves being able to talk to and listen to – the ability to be present in our bodies in the moment.” –  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 10 – Communication is Key

If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop.   If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self having problems with communicating and reactions – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together.  I have posted a page withspecial offers for my February 15th workshop.

If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.

Cover of book on romantic relationshipsI have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)

When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon  and on Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.

Inter-reacting & blaming ~ The Codependent Dance of Romance

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

“We have a feeling place (stored emotional energy), and an arrested ego-state within us for an age that relates to each of those developmental stages. Sometimes we react out of our three-year-old, sometimes out of our fifteen-year-old, sometimes out of the seven-year-old that we were.

If you are in a relationship, check it out the next time you have a fight: Maybe you are both coming out of your twelve-year-olds. If you are a parent, maybe the reason you have a problem sometimes is because you are reacting to your six-year-old child out of the six-year-old child within you. If you have a problem with romantic relationships maybe it is because your fifteen-year-old is picking your mates for you.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

At the CoDA meeting I am the secretary of here locally, one of the people sharing last week made one of those perfect Freudian slips while sharing. She talked about inter-reacting with someone. That is codependency: two people inter-reacting, each reacting out of their emotional wounds and childhood programming.

If we are inter-reacting, we are incapable of being honest in relating to other people. If we are not seeing ourselves with any clarity and emotional honesty, then we cannot see the other person with clarity – let alone the relationship. No true communication can take place between two people who are reacting to the past instead of being present in the moment – inter-reacting. (I like that word. 😉

And of course, the type of relationship this dynamic impacts the most is romantic. As I say elsewhere in my writing: romantic relationships are the greatest arena for Spiritual and emotional growth available to us – because they are the relationships that mean the most to us, that we have the most at stake emotionally. It is in romantic relationships that our buttons are pushed – that our deepest wounds are triggered. It is in romantic relationships that our core fear of intimacy is activated. And the problem with far too many romantic relationships – which of course, includes marriages – is that they are inter-reactions, not interactions.

When we look to a romantic relationship to make us happy and give us worth, we give another person the power to make us feel good about ourselves, to feel worthy and lovable. The person who we have given that power to, usually becomes the person to blame when we do not feel good.

The prince or princess who was going to rescue us becomes the villain who is abusing / oppressing / smothering / abandoning us. The type of love that we learned growing up in dysfunctional societies is toxic love. That codependent, addictive toxic variety of love involves giving another person power over our self esteem – empowering another wounded human being to be our higher power who determines if we have worth. It is a set up to end up feeling like a victim – with the other person as the villain, or our own perceived shameful defectiveness making us the villain who deserves to be abused.

We are subconsciously programmed and emotionally set up in early childhood (by fairy tales which are later reinforced by books, movies, songs, etc.) to believe that a romantic relationship will lead us to “happily ever after.” This makes us feel like failures when it does not happen. Because we feel like failures and are codependent, we go to one of the extremes: we try harder to change or please the other person, to earn their love, to make them available; or we blame. (And trying harder is really about blaming ourselves, thinking that it is our fault, that we are not doing it “right.”)

There is no happily ever after in this lifetime, in these bodies – it is a misconception, a misinterpretation of Metaphysical levels of reality. Knowing that consciously, intellectually, does not help us stop feeling like a failure. It is vital to heal our emotional wounds and forgive ourselves for expecting life – and romance – to be something it is not.

We were set up to feel like failures in romantic relationships by dysfunctional societal beliefs. Feeling like a failure is emotional – buying into the belief in failure is mental: two different levels of our being. It is very important in recovery to start being able to practice discernment in relationship to our own inner process. A major component in becoming empowered to take responsibility for being co-creators of our life experience is being able to recognize when our feelings are a direct result of the beliefs we are empowering. Becoming conscious of how our subconscious programming from childhood is still affecting us today is the only way we can change that programming. Consciousness can lead to empowerment when we are willing to focus on the things we do have the power to change – and own our power to make choices instead of being the victim of dysfunctional programming.

The intellectual paradigm we are empowering to define our lives determines our perspective of life and our emotional reactions.

“One of the biggest problems with relationships in this society is that the context we approach them from is too small. If getting the relationship is the goal, we will end up being the victim. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment – it is a lesson. As long as our definition of a successful relationship is one that lasts forever – we are set up to fail. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever, expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional.” – Romantic Relationships and Valentine’s Day

When the intellectual paradigm which we are allowing to define our lives – the context in which we are relating to life / love / romance – is based upon the belief that if we do it “right” – or find the “right person” we will reach the destination of “happily ever after,” we are set up to feel like failures when we are not magically transformed by a relationship.

When we blame it all on our self we are not seeing things clearly. When we blame it all on the other person we are not seeing things clearly. When we are inter-reacting and blaming, we aren’t being fair to our self or the other person.” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior Chapter 3

 

Cover of book on romantic relationships

Romantic Relationships – The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth ~

Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior

Available through Joy2MeU (personally autographed copy;-) or through Amazon.com

Also available as two e-books in Amazon Kindle format  eBook 1 & eBook2

and in Barnes & Noble Nook format eBook 1 & eBook 2

Chapter 16 of The Greatest Arena – A Valentine’s Day Prayer “have compassion for your wounded self”

“I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process.  Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth.   The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth.  I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am.  I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me.  I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.”Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

When I wrote the original version of this article to be published in February 2000, I wanted to help people take some of the emotional charge out of Valentines.  I had realized in my recovery that Holidays – as well as times like birthdays and anniversaries were times that can really be emotional triggers for us.  (In fact it was my pattern of setting myself up to be abandoned on important days – specifically my birthday in July 1987 – that was what finally caused me to surrender to the need for me to do the emotional work that I was so scared of doing.)

“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.” – Holidays, Anniversaries, and Birthdays

So, this is what I wrote for what I came to call a Valentine’s Day prayer.

Valentines Day.  The high holy Codependency feast Day.  That is, a day when, for most of us, the disease treats us to a feast of self recrimination and self flagellation.

For a small minority of us, a true holiday of love.  A time to celebrate the love we are feeling for a significant other in our life.  A time to be grateful for the gift of romance, and to honor the partner who is enriching our life.

For a significant number of us – who are alone in a relationship – a time to pretend, or blame.  To focus on what is good about the relationship we are in, in an attempt to convince ourselves that the payoff we are receiving is worth the price we are paying.  A time to put on a happy face to cover up for a sad heart.  A reminder that our hopes, and the dream of what the relationship would become, are sadly under fulfilled and that we have settled for less than we deserve.  Often that internal conflict is deflected outward in blaming the other.

For another significant portion of us – who are alone – a painful reminder, usually accompanied by self judgment and shame, bitterness and cynicism.  Unless our level of denial is great enough for us to truly convince ourselves that it is just another day and does not bring up any feelings – a day of sadness.

If you are one of the lucky few, enJoy it to the fullest.  Glory in the magic of love.  Let your Spirit soar on the wings of love.  Let yourself feel the Love and Joy in the moment as if you have never been hurt, and as if this love will never go away.  Grab the moment with gusto and let yourself cherish the fairy-tale-come-true feelings.

If you are part of the majority – either in a relationship that isn’t working to meet your needs, or not in a relationship – focus on being kind to your self.  Use this Valentine’s Day as an exercise in Loving you.

Allow yourself to feel the sadness without buying into the messages of judgment and shame from the critical parent voice in your head.  It is not your fault that you are alone – or that you have settled for crumbs in a relationship when you deserve the whole cake.  It is not because you are unlovable or unworthy.  It is not because you have made “stupid” “mistakes,” or because you are a “loser” or a “failure.”

And if you find yourself wallowing in resentment and blame, realize that underneath your need to point the finger at another is a place within you that needs to be forgiven by you.

It is extremely difficult to have a healthy relationship in a society that is founded on dysfunctional beliefs about the nature and purpose of being human.  In a society that is not only emotionally repressive and dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation instead of connection,) and shame based – but one that promotes, and programs us for, dysfunctional codependent relationships and toxic love.

We were set up to have unrealistic expectations of our self and of romance.  We were set up:  to make choices that would cause us to repeat dysfunctional patterns in relationships; to choose exactly the people who would repeat the emotional dynamics of abandonment, deprivation, unavailability, verbal abuse, etc.;  to choose to open our hearts to people who would ignore, or stomp on, them.  Often then, we learned to shut down our hearts in order to survive the emotional pain.

It is very sad.  It is very sad that we have had our hearts broken.  It is very sad that we have let go of getting our needs met.  It is very sad that it is so hard to connect with another being in a healthy, Loving way.  It is very sad that so many of us have had to shut down our hearts and locked the romantic part of us away in a deep dark place within us.

It is very sad – but it is truly tragic that we blame ourselves.  We have been victimized by societies dysfunctional programming and we beat up on the victim of those forces that we were powerless over.

We do deserve Love in our lives.  We deserve companionship and support and friendship.  We deserve touch and affection and sexual fulfillment.

We all do!

That is the good news. The bad news is that we may not get to have that experience in this lifetime.

We do not have to like that reality – but we do need to accept it.  Because accepting it is the key to stopping the self judgment and blame.  Accepting that you can be happy and whole without a relationship, is the key to being able to let go of expectations and judgment so that you are be free to be happy, peaceful, and Joyous in some of the moments of today.

We have all lived multiple lifetimes in this hostile environment.  That environment is now being changed.  This new age we are in, is the time when – by healing our wounded souls and learning to manifest Love into our relationship with our self – we will bring about a critical mass that will shift the whole planet’s relationship with Love.

Everything without is a reflection of within.  As long as individual human beings are hating and resenting them self, feeling unworthy and unlovable – the world will remain an angry, violent, love retarded, hostile environment.  By learning to overcome our programming to have a hostile environment within us – in our relationship with our self – we will change the world, transform it into a healthier more Loving place for the Magnificent Spiritual Beings who we Truly are to come into body and experience.

Make this Valentine’s Day a True celebration of Love by choosing to Love and have compassion for your wounded self (own the emotional pain) at the same time you are allowing your Spiritual Self to nurture (tell yourself Spiritual Truth) and protect you (tell the critical parent voice to shut up.)” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth  Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior  Chapter 16 – A Valentine’s Day Prayer

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