My Terror of Intimacy

What we want the most is also what terrifies us the most.  It was more comfortable for me to sabotage myself and beat myself up than to Truly open up to Love.  I was more comfortable beating myself up for being defective than I was in taking the risk of believing that I was Truly deserving of Love.

This was not at all a conscious thing – it was a result of the compulsive reactions of my codependency.  I was powerless to choose someone who was actually available, and capable, of Loving me as long as I was unconsciously reacting to life out of my childhood emotional wounds.

Book cover

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.

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

I compared myself to others and thought I saw that they had reached happily ever after – and since I had not, that was evidence which reinforced the false belief that I was shameful and defective.  My patterns caused me to pick people who could not give me what I needed because of my emotional wounds – and those repeating patterns seemed to be evidence that reinforced the false belief that I was unlovable and defective.  Insidious and incredibly powerful is this codependency.

As the quote in Discernment part 1 from my article Feeling the Feelings – grief / emotional energy release stated:

“4. We are attracted to people that feel familiar on an energetic level – which means (until we start clearing our emotional process) people that emotionally / vibrationally feel like our parents did when we were very little kids.  At a certain point in my process I realized that if I met a woman who felt like my soul mate, that the chances were pretty huge that she was one more unavailable woman that fit my pattern of being attracted to someone who would reinforce the message that I wasn’t good enough, that I was unlovable.  Until we start releasing the hurt, sadness, rage, shame, terror – the emotional grief energy – from our childhoods we will keep having dysfunctional relationships.”

We keep repeating patterns in an attempt to earn the love we are so starved for – on some level the little child within us is still trying to earn our parents love.  We are still trying to prove we are lovable by winning the love of someone who resonates as being similar to our parents.  Until we start learning to be discerning so that we can separate the child’s emotional truth from our adult reality, we keep looking for love in all the wrong places and wrong faces.  Until we start seeing life in a spiritual context that allows us to start understanding our powerlessness and forgiving ourselves for the “bad” choices / “mistakes” we have made in our adult relationship choices, we are blocked from Loving our self.  Discernment is necessary to start really owning our deep emotional pain from a perspective of having compassion for ourselves instead of shame and judgment.

In relationship to romance my patterns meant being attracted to women who were not available to me on some level, and rejecting any woman who was available.  This was the counterdependent pattern I mentioned in the update that spawned these Newsletters.

“It was vital for me in my recovery to see that I actually felt less loneliness when I was alone – because my patterns were more of the counterdependent type, trying to convince myself I didn’t need other people.  My fear/terror of intimacy issues were so powerful that I effectively had a relationship phobia.  Those of you whose patterns were more classically codependent, tended to make the relationship your higher power and hold on for dear life because of inner child fears of being alone.  These are two extremes in the patterns I have observed in how codependents react to fear of intimacy – to be isolated and alone most of the time or to stay in relationships that aren’t meeting our needs out of fear of being alone.  The third major pattern is to go from relationship to relationship, often being more codependent in some (trying to take a hostage / make the other person our drug of choice) and counterdependent in others (resisting being someone else’s drug / being taken hostage.)” 

I did not feel Loved in childhood because my parents were wounded – and because the concept of God that I was taught was a punishing one, the pain in my life felt like punishment. (The pain of life feels like punishment even to people who were taught a metaphysical, Loving concept of God in childhood, because the emotional experience of life does not match the metaphysical Truth.  Sometimes people who were taught about a Loving God in childhood have more trouble getting past their feelings of betrayal than someone who was raised in a shame based religion like I was.)  My inner radar caused me to be attracted to someone who felt on some emotionally energetic level like my parents.  The extremes of the spectrum that I experienced in childhood, dictated how I related to intimate relationships – to opening my heart to another human being.

“For most of my adult life, I effectively had a relationship phobia.  The extremes I learned in childhood were completely unavailable (my father) and completely enmeshed (my mother.)  In my first sexually and emotionally intimate relationship (not any true emotional intimacy because I was incapable of it then – more accurate would be to call it emotional attachment) I got completely enmeshed with a woman I met in college.  She was the one who really initiated me into being sexual.  We got engaged to be married.  I caught her in bed with my best friend – literally, caught them in bed.

I realized in retrospect in recovery, that she had almost certainly been the victim of incest from a young age – and was a sex addict.  The pain of that experience, was to say the least, incredible.  I was so much in denial of my feelings, and so codependent, that I stayed engaged to her for another year and a half.

I did not again in the next twenty years, make the mistake of getting involved with someone who was available enough to have the power to hurt me like that.  I pursued only unavailable women.  I always had someone unavailable that I was obsessing over, trying to figure out how to get her to see how wonderful we could be together.  (This was completely unconscious and something I only realized looking back at my patterns in recovery.)

The other extreme for me, was allowing myself to get physically involved with women I did not really want to be with, with women I did not feel a strong attraction / energetic connection to.  Then I would be the unavailable one.”  –  Joy2MeU Update May 2001 Newsletter 2

Since the only options I could see in a romantic relationship were unavailable or enmeshed, being alone was actually the option in between the extremes for me.  Settling for being in a relationship with someone who wanted me more than I wanted her (being the unavailable / counterdependent one) made me feel as if I were incapable of loving – and caused me to feel incredibly isolated and alone because I could not be (did not even want to be) the prince she thought she needed.  When I was in a relationship where my self worth was dependent upon her (codependent pattern) – where she was the princess who could turn me from a frog into a prince – then she was my higher power, my drug of choice.  Addicts have an incredible need to protect their supply.  When I was enmeshed in a relationship I needed to try to take her hostage, keep her under my control, to protect my supply.

In the May 2001 Newsletter processing about my fear of intimacy issues (quoted just above and referenced in the Update) I made a big breakthrough in consciousness by uncovering and discovering some layers where I was still empowering black and white thinking – and therefore victim feelings – in relationship to women.  It was a breakthrough that took me to a level of consciousness that for the first time felt like I had reached in my personal process the level of consciousness that my book had been written out of 10 years earlier. (Joy2MeU Update – August 2001)  I was rocketed into a whole new dimension of consciousness because it also helped me to make a great leap in my capacity to have compassion for myself.

“As I am putting the final touches on this Newsletter on June 15th so I can post it, I had another insight into why I have been so terrified of intimacy.  It was not just the shameful unworthiness that would cause a woman to go away, that was so painful.  It wasn’t abandonment that hurt so much – it was the betrayal, which I felt was the consequence, the punishment.  I am sobbing as I get in touch with the pain of that little boy who felt like he was punished for that unworthiness.

The excruciating pain of finding my fiancé in bed with my best friend was the proof of, and felt like punishment for, that unworthiness.  It was only in recovery when dealing with my emotional incest issues, that I realized how my mother had betrayed me.  She always told me how wonderful I was, how special and gifted – she acted as if the world revolved around me.  But she never protected me, or herself, from my father.  My mother was my first love.  She was my Goddess.  The fact that she allowed my father to terrify and traumatize me – she who was perfect in the eyes of that little boy – obviously meant there was something wrong with me. 

I got in touch with the fact that my mother betrayed me years ago.  What I had never seen before today, was the connection between the two betrayals – and the common theme. 

My fiancé’s betrayal was just a repeat of my earliest experience of loving a woman.  Both situations involved betrayal by the primary woman in my life, and the primary man.  The excruciating pain I experienced as a young adult was only a fraction of the devastation felt by that little boy.

That poor little boy.  His first experience of love, the first loves of his life – his God and Goddess – punished him.  Terror of intimacy is a pretty appropriate response.  I have some work to do with this issue”.  –  Joy2MeU Update May 2001 Newsletter 2

Intellectually accepting that we were powerless does not change the core programming.  Being willing to plunge into the grief (the black hole of emotional healing as I describe it in my book) was what led me to peeling away enough levels to really understand that powerlessness on a gut level – so that I can truly start having compassion for myself, Loving my self.  I needed to really own that little boys pain in order to start changing my patterns in my adult relationships.

(In Discernment 1, I mentioned that by learning discernment and peeling away the layers I was able to see the silver lining, to be grateful for, my relationship phobia – which means I came to see a silver lining to this betrayal I experienced in my early twenties.  What I realized is, that the combination of my alcoholism and the rage I was carrying towards my mother, would have made me powerless to not be abusive had I married this woman and started having kids.  I may have spent most of my adult life alone, but at least I didn’t have a family that I terrorized for those years.)

Set up to fail in romance

Codependency is on a very simple level giving power over our feelings of self worth to external sources.  Learning to be discerning – to separate / draw boundaries in our perspective of – our issues, and the levels and layers of those issues, is vital in seeing our self and life with more clarity.   It vital in the process of learning to Love and to create the potential for having a healthy romantic relationship.

“Starting to practice discernment in relationship to the mental level of our being helps us to start taking responsibility for the emotional level.

My attitudes, beliefs, and definitions set up my perspectives and expectations – which in turn dictate my emotional reactions.  It was vital for me to start seeing how the beliefs I was empowering were responsible for the expectations that were setting me up to feel like a victim of other people.  It was vital for me to start seeing myself clearly enough to stop buying into the illusion that what I was feeling was your fault.

“A very important part of my process of finding some balance in my life – of learning how to see myself and how I relate to others and life more clearly – was to get clear that everything in my process relates back to me and my growth process.   I had to get past my codependent belief that I was doing something for you – or you were doing something to me.” – Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope – My Recovery Process

. . . . . . . .  It is vital to start learning how to be discerning in our relationship with life in order to achieve some integration and emotional balance.  It is empowering to start having a perspective of life that allows us to see a separation, a boundary, between the vertical – our Spiritual yearning to return home to Love, to reconnect with our Source – and the horizontal – our needs for human interaction and stimulation.  Once we stop unconsciously allowing our feelings of self worth to be emotionally enmeshed with our external relationships, then we can start seeing both our self and our Self more clearly.   Then we can start seeing other people and life with more clarity.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Chapter 9: Codependency = Emotional Anorexia

Starting to discern the difference between a codependent relationship and a healthy relationship helped me to start seeing the concepts of romance and love with more clarity – helped me start to understand the difference between a healthy interdependent relationship and a dysfunctional, codependent relationship.

“Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics.

Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. Taking our self-definition and self-worth from outside or external sources is dysfunctional because it causes us to give power over how we feel about ourselves to people and forces which we cannot control. Any time that we give power over our self-esteem to something outside of ourselves we are making that person or thing our higher power. We are worshiping false gods.

. . . . . . . . Interdependence is about making allies, forming partnerships. It is about forming connections with other beings. Interdependence means that we give someone else some power over our welfare and our feelings.” – Codependence vs Interdependence – healthy relationship vs dysfunctional

Giving away power over my self esteem and giving away some power over my feelings are two separate issues that I could only start discerning the difference between by starting to see what a dysfunctional concept of romance I learned in childhood.  Our fairy tale perspective of romance was compounded by our experience of love in childhood, so that we were totally set up to be incapable of having a healthy romantic relationship.  I had no idea what Love really is because of my childhood experience of love.

“I don’t remember how the particular insight that I am writing about here came about – whether I heard it, or read it, or just had the thought occur (which would mean, to me, that it was a message from my Higher Self/Higher Power – of course any of those methods would be a message from my Higher Power.)  In any case, this particular insight struck me with great force.  Like most great insights, it was amazingly simple and obvious.  It was to me earth shattering/paradigm busting in it’s impact.  The insight was:

If someone loves you, it should feel like they love you.

What a concept!  Obvious, logical, rational, elementary – like ‘duh’ of course it should.

I had never experienced feeling loved consistently in my closest relationships.  Because my parents did not know how to Love themselves, their behavior towards me had caused me to experience love as critical, shaming, manipulative, controlling, and abusive.  Because that was my experience of love as a child – that was the only type of relationship I was comfortable with as an adult.  It was also, and most importantly, the relationship that I had with myself.

In order to start changing my relationship with myself, so that I could start changing the type of relationships I had with other people, I had to start focusing on trying to learn the True nature of Love.

This, I believe, is the Great Quest that we are on.  Anyone in recovery, on a healing/Spiritual path, is ultimately trying to find their way home to LOVE – in my belief.  LOVE is the Higher Power – the True nature of the God-Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit.  LOVE is the fabric from which we are woven.  LOVE is the answer.

And in order to start finding my way home to LOVE – I first had to start awakening to what Love is not. . . . . . 

. . . . Love is also not an addiction.  It is not taking a hostage or being taken hostage.  The type of romantic love that I learned about growing is a form of toxic love.  The “I can’t smile without out you,” “Can’t live without you.” “You are my everything,” “You are not whole until you find your prince/princess” messages that I learned in relationship to romantic love in childhood are not descriptions of Love – they are descriptions of drug of choice, of someone who is a higher power/false god.

Additionally, Love is not being a doormat.  Love does not entail sacrificing your self on the altar of martyrdom – because one cannot consciously choose to sacrifice self if they have never Truly had a self that they felt was Lovable and worthy.  If we do not know how to Love our self, how to show respect and honor for our self – then we have no self to sacrifice.  We are then sacrificing in order to try to prove to ourselves that we are lovable and worthy – that is not giving from the heart, that is codependently manipulative, controlling, and dishonest.” – The True Nature of Love – part 1, what Love is not

We need to start being discerning in relationship to the concepts of love and romance – and start taking action to change that programming before we start to have any chance of having a healthy relationship. 

One of the core components of Codependency is black and white thinking.  For this reason it is possible to quit drinking and using without being in recovery from codependency – because to drinking and/or using is an “either or” “black or white” issue.  Life is not black and white.  Issues with food, spending, relationships, etc. are not black and white.  These issues exist in the gray area of life.  What we are seeking is balance – and in order to find balance we need to learn to practice discernment.

When I was learning how to take responsibility for my feelings by getting honest with myself about my expectations – one of that last layers I peeled was in relationship to romance, to “falling in love.”  My Higher Power – who can sometimes be quite literal and show an amusing sense of humor – brought a wonderful opportunity for growth to me on April First 1990.

“One of the biggest areas in this culture where we are trained to come from a victim perspective is in relationship to romance.  We are taught about “falling in love” as if it were a camouflaged hole in the sidewalk that we were powerless over falling into.  Falling in love is a choice – which is what I got to get real clear on starting on that April Fools Day in 1990 

Falling in love is a state of mind which is very different from Loving someone.  Love is a vibrational frequency that we can tune into (more on that in the article next month.)  What we learned growing up was love that was an addiction – with the other person as our drug of choice, our Higher Power.  (See Toxic Love )   Love is not something that someone else gives to us – it is something that another being can help us to remember and access.  (See Wedding Prayer or Adventure in Romance.)

I understood much of this only theoretically – and not that much – that afternoon in the meadow by the sea.  What I had gotten real clear on by that time is that buying into being a victim was disempowering and dysfunctional for me.  So that evening I got real clear with myself.  It went something like this:

“OK.  Let’s look at this.  Here is a beautiful woman who feels like she might be my soul mate.  Having that powerful an emotional, energetic reaction to her could mean that she is my soul mate but it is much more likely to mean that she is unavailable in a way that is perfect for my patterns.  I have choices here.  (Empowerment is all about owning that we always have choices – Empowerment & Victimization page.)  I can run away in fear that she is a repeat of old patterns but if I do that I won’t learn anything. I can choose to explore what this connection with her is – in which case I will probably get hurt.

Since getting hurt is an inevitable part of life and I definitely need to learn some lessons about romance and emotional intimacy – I think that I will explore what our connection is – but do it differently than I ever have before.  I will make a commitment to myself (our first commitment needs always to be to our self) to learn whatever lessons I need to learn from this woman and will remain alert so that I do not buy into any victim beliefs.  I am choosing to go into the emotional place that she will lead me to learn lessons about my self.  I will not buy into the belief that she is victimizing me.  When I am hurting because: she is not doing what I want her to;  when she is not opening up to the potential of how wonderful we could be together;  when she is reacting to her fears and wounds; I will always remember that I choose to venture down the path this way and that any feelings that result will be my responsibility – they will be the consequences of my choice.  They will not be her fault.  She does not have the power to hurt me unless I give it to her – and I am choosing to give her some power over my feelings.”  Joy2MeU Journal Premier Issue  Newsletter April 2, 1999

I learned to stop giving power to the illusion that I was the victim of love.  Since I realized that falling in love was a choice, I have played with the energy of falling “in love” a few times but have only chosen to dive in head first / “fall in love” one time.

“As a reminder (since it is a year later): in writing my May 2001 Update I realized I that my fear of intimacy and deprivation issues had broken the surface for me to look at.  That spawned 3 pages of Newsletter processing about my fear of intimacy issues.  In the second of those 3 pages I talked about the polarized, black and white, thinking that is a fundamental dynamic of the condition of codependency.  I described how this black and white thinking affected the way I related to romantic relationships.

“The rut for me in respect to romance is for my thinking to be either (1) I will never have another romantic relationship, or (10) we will move in together and be fully immersed in the relationship.  A watered down, less powerful version of the choices I learned in childhood from my role models – either completely unavailable or completely enmeshed.

My thinking in relationship to a relationship, is much healthier and more balanced than it used to be – but it still tends towards the extremes within the spectrum of what is I believe is possible.  It feels more natural for me to completely let go of the idea of having a romantic relationship or to think in terms of what it is going to be like when we are living together, then to think in terms of getting to know someone gradually.  Kind of like, either pretend the water isn’t there, or dive into the deep end without looking first to see what may be just under the surface.

It is easier for me emotionally to not even consider going in the water than to gradually ease myself into the shallow water – because if I am even looking at the water it gets me in touch with grief about being alone.  The abyss of wish-to-die pain and desperate loneliness from my childhood – the deprivation issues that I spent so much of my life either denying or allowing to run my life – do not have anywhere near the power they used to because of the healing I have done.  It is relatively easy now for me to separate out the childhood feelings of loneliness – and they do not any longer have a life threatening feeling of desperation to them.  But I also have been very deprived in my adult life – of Love, companionship, affection, touch, sexual fulfillment, etc. – because of my patterns.  So the grief around those deprivation issues still has power because the deprivation is still happening.” – Newsletter part 2 May 2001 – posted June 15

So, it is easier for me to let go of the idea of ever having a relationship, then to be open and willing to explore a relationship – because being conscious of wanting a relationship triggers my deprivation issues. . . . . . 

. . . . . . . . The romantic within who wants the fairy tale, is the archetypal part of me that I have talked of elsewhere as having always swung between the extremes of allowing the fantasy to rule or locking that part of me in an inner prison and wanting to ignore it.  The one who has the frog self image and wants to worship the princess who can turn me from a frog into a prince.  The romantic is always looking to dive right into any attractive swimming pool – never looking to see if there is even water in the pool, let alone if it is full of big rocks.” – Joy2MeU Journal The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Process – Dance 12 June 2002

In that instance – which I describe in my article An Adventure in Romance – Loving and Losing Successfully – the other person dove into the pool, fell “in love” with me, and invited me in.  When I accepted the invitation and dove in, she got scared and ran away emotionally.  And I was able, when that woman seemingly rejected me, to own my responsibility for my feelings and not blame her.  I also did not blame and shame myself.  There was great emotional pain / hurt / grief, but I did not buy into shaming and blaming myself for being hurt – an incredible gift!  I did Truly Love and lose successfully.

“I have learned:

That when I know who I am and have my self-esteem rooted in my Spiritual connection then I have nothing to fear from intimacy.  I can be hurt for certain because I will be choosing to give some power away over my feelings – but hurt is part of life and well worth the adventure of Loving and Losing.

That it is Truly possible to do enough healing to be able to open my heart to someone and then not take it personally when the other person “rejects” me – because I Truly know in my gut that she is just reacting to her wounds not to some inherent flaw in my being.

That I can have my worst fear of abandonment and rejection appear to come true and not give it any power because I do not have to buy into the disease telling me that it is my fault – that I did something/said something/am something that is wrong/a loser/a mistake/unlovable/unworthy.  This is such a gift – to know that I can keep the critical parent shut up and out of the game is Truly an Amazing Miraculous reward for being willing to do my healing.” – An Adventure in Romance – Loving and Losing Successfully

Having the freedom to not feel the victim of “falling in love” with someone who was unavailable in some way, has saved me countless hours of obsession and agony in those intervening years.  It has been an invaluable asset in learning how to be present in the moment to enJoy my life journey today without feeling I am incomplete because there is no princess in my life – instead of putting so much energy and time into trying to force someone else to play a part in my dream, or beating myself up for being unlovable.

And choosing not to fall “in love” doesn’t mean that I can’t be open to Loving a woman.  “Falling in love” is a temporary condition – a kind of temporary magical insanity that feels delicious and wonderful.  Loving another being in a romantic relationship can be a dynamic, growing, expanding gift if both people are committed to their individual healing so that they can keep returning to some kind of balance and clarity in the relationship.  It can include recurring periods of feeling “in love” for all of the years of the relationship – but expecting the magic of feeling “in love” to last, to be present all of the time, is a set up.

“Being in Love is a wonderful, magical feeling.  It fills us with energy and lightens our spirit so that we feel we are soaring on the wings of Love.  It is wonderful to feel that energy.  What is dysfunctional is expecting it to last forever.  It is important to know that the feeling of being in love is not going to last forever, or be there all of the time.  Two people who are working on emotional intimacy – who are communicating and working through issues – can recapture that feeling again and again for years and years, but it is not going to always be the reality of your relationship.” –  Healthy Relationships – Part 6, Romantic Love as a Concept

It is in some ways sad that since 1990 I have had only one occasion to choose to “fall in love” – a reality that is directly related to both my issues and to the fact that my “road gets narrower.”  I am actually not sure I am ever going to choose to dive in head first again – because I am don’t think that is part of a healthy, realistic relationship.  However by owning that I have that choice, I can play with the energy of falling “in love” while exploring the pool / learning to Love someone as a person in reality rather than just casting her in the role of the princess of my dream.  I can act as if, treat the other person as if, I am “in love” with her in the moment, while still staying grounded in reality enough to have boundaries and not lose myself in the illusion that the dream of happily ever after has come true.

In my personal process, my terror of intimacy was so huge that it has taken years of pealing away layers to discover pockets of black and white thinking that were blocking me from being available to explore a romantic relationship.  One of the gifts to me of this web site – and especially the processing I have done in my Joy2MeU Journal – is that it has brought me to the point where recently I have been getting to play with the magical energy of “in love” while learning about giving and receiving Love in relating to a woman in recovery.  The processing that I did in those May 2001 Newsletter pages peeled off a huge layer – as did subsequent processing first in July of 2002 and then in October and November of last year.  More will be revealed about whether this relationship opportunity will continue and/or where it will take me, but it has led to breakthrough after breakthrough in my process of learning to open up to Love.  It has been / is a magnificent gift in my life.

By learning:  to separate my self worth from emotional attachment to another person;  to separate the emotional truth of my childhood from the emotional energy of Truth which is my intuition;  to see romance and love from a more realistic, adult, recovery perspective;  to recognize the reactions coming from the magical thinking romantic part of me so that I don’t deny reality in my desire to have the dream come true;  are all areas where learning to practice discernment has helped me to make major progress in getting past my terror of intimacy.

As I have stated elsewhere in my writing, in every relationship break up that I have ever dealt with, it was letting go of the illusion / dream of the relationship that caused more grief than letting go of the actual person.  We want the dream so desperately that we deny and rationalize abuse and deprivation in a relationship – blame the other person or blame our self – and sometimes settle for the illusion of not being alone.  We hold onto the dream – deny and rationalize the reality of the relationship – because of the desperate loneliness of the wounded child within us.  Separating the dream from the person can help us to see more clearly – can help us to let go.

It was not possible to become an empowered, conscious co-creator in my life until I could see my self and my issues with more clarity – until I could start to separate the different issues and levels of those issues.  As long as my self worth was bound up in the outcome of a relationship, it was necessary for me to try to control that relationship – to try to manipulate the other person to live up to the role I had cast her in as the princess who could turn me from a frog into a prince.  As long as my inner child terror of abandonment, betrayal, and rejection was involved in determining my perspective of a relationship, the thought of the relationship ending felt life threatening.  Until I could start separating the reality of romantic relationship from my fairy tale of what a relationship “should” be – I was incapable of having a healthy romantic relationship.

I realized early in my recovery, that I had a pattern in my human relationships – friendships as well as romance – of sacrificing my self and my needs in the now for illusion of connection.  With a woman whom I was romantically attracted to, I sacrificed my self for the “potential” of the future, the possibility that she would be the princess who could transport me to happily ever after.

No one can transport me to “happily ever after” because there is no happily ever after in these bodies on this plane of existence.  It is not part of the reality of this human experience we are having.  The reality is that a romantic relationship takes a lot of hard work and willingness to work through issues that come up.  It is not a destination, it is the start of a new chapter in our life adventure, a new stage of our journey.  It is an opportunity for growth and healing.  We do not get to know how long any particular stage of our journey is going to last – and if we try to make it into what we think it “should” be, we miss out on experiencing what it is.  By letting go of the destination and being present in the moment, we can “Love as if we have never been hurt” – some of the time.

“The more you do your healing and follow your Spiritual path the more moments of each day you will have the choice to Truly be present the moment.

And in the moment you can make a choice to embrace and feel the Joy fully and completely and with Gusto.

In any specific moment you will have the power to make a choice to feel the Love in that moment as if you have never been hurt and as if the Love will never go away.” – A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment

I cannot stress enough how important it is, how empowering it is, to start to see life as it is and learn to make the best of it – instead of allowing false beliefs about life and love to cause us to be blocked from learning to Love our self.  We were emotionally traumatized in childhood and programmed with a bunch of false beliefs that cause us to have an appropriate and unavoidable fear of taking the risk of loving and losing.  Discernment is a key to learning how to move through that fear so that we can take the risk of Loving

Learning to separate feeling hurt from blame and shame – so that we can stop beating our self up for having our hearts broken;  learning to see life, our self, and other people more clearly so that we don’t deny reality in our quest for the dream;  learning to own and release the grief from our childhood and our adult life so that we can be present in our own skins in the moment instead of reacting out of regret for the past or fear of the future;  learning to see life as a journey of growth and healing, of experiencing and learning, instead of as a test we can fail;  are all parts of the process of learning to give and receive Love.

It was vital for me to stop buying into the belief that I was a victim:  of love;  of deprivation;  in romantic relationships – so that I could stop allowing fear to run my life.

“Love as we have been programmed to understand the concept, is one of the great victimizers in our culture – and one of the biggest excuses for unhealthy behavior. 

Whenever someone I have been working with answers the question “Why do you stay?” – in a relationship that is abusive or with someone who is unavailable – with the line “because I love him/her,”  my response is “No, what is the real reason.”  Because the “love” is never the bottom line.  The bottom line is always fear.  Fear of being alone, of not being able to support self, of never having another relationship, of getting in a worse relationship, etc. 

If we are living life in reaction to fear, we are being victims – and there is no chance of us being healthy in a relationship if we are making our choices in reaction to fear.”  –  Healthy Relationships – Part 6, Romantic Love as a Concept

We will always feel fear – the key is to not allow fear to define and dictate our lives for us.  That is why it is so important to have a spiritual belief system that gives us the courage and faith to move forward in life and in Love.  We need to enlarge our perspective of life so that we can separate Truth from false beliefs in order to open up to accessing the Love that is our True nature.

The more we enlarge our perspective, the closer we get to the cause instead of just dealing with the symptoms.  For example, the more we look at the dysfunction in our relationship with ourselves as human beings the more we can understand the dysfunction in our romantic relationships.

Sophisticated Discernment

When I refer to the sophistication of the online book I have been writing for the past year, it is primarily the levels of discernment that I discuss in that work that I am referencing.

“I do not have any idea at this time when I will be writing the new chapters for the beginning of this book, or how many more chapters I will be adding at the end – as I say, to be revealed.  I just felt that it was time to begin this separation because as written, the chapters from 3 onward took on a whole new tone and focus than the first two had.  It has been obvious to me for quite awhile that they were different works.  Now the process of separating them has begun.  Another ironic note since separation is one of the themes in this online book.  As the detachment section of this Author’s Foreword states: 

“One of those paradoxes is that in order to get in touch with our ONENESS with everything, we must first be able to define our self as separate from others.  And in order to become an integrated whole being, we must first separate and own all of the different parts of our self within.”

In Book 2, I discuss the importance of separation on multiple levels in regard to a number of different issues, including:  separating ego strength from self worth and separating our feelings of self worth from our emotional relationships to external sources.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Author’s Foreword

Learning to separate our feelings of self worth from our emotional relationships to external sources is a complicated and complex process that involves reprograming our ego defenses to align with how life really works instead of how we learned it worked in childhood.  The attitudes, definitions, and beliefs we learned in childhood have been dictating our perspective and expectation of life – have been the determining factor in our relationships and emotional reactions to life.  In recovery we need to be willing to take a clear look at all of those attitudes and beliefs in order to change our perspectives and relationships.

One of the reasons that our perception of, and relationship with this life business has been so out-of-balance is that we have lacked the ability to discern between different levels.  The twisted, distorted perspective of life that humans have evolved is, in part at least, the result of trying to apply the Truths of one level to the reality of another. . . . . .

. . . . . . So we have four levels, perspectives, on which “happily ever after” is a concept that contains at least some Truth.  However, applying that Truth to the physical plane in the form of believing that you will achieve “happily ever after” when you get married or find your mate is obviously a false and dysfunctional belief that has resulted from human inability to discern between levels.

Human beings have also tried to apply realities of the physical level to the Spiritual level with the disastrous result that humans have come up with an image of the God-Force that fights wars.  This image of the God-Force, with the characteristics of a war-like male, is completely out of balance because it is not the image of a balanced male warrior – it is the image of a male with no feminine side.

In Chapter 14 I talk about separating the Metaphysical power of the name, message, and symbolism of the Master Teacher Jesus Christ from the angry, vengeful, Old Testament male image of god that is at the foundation of so much of the war we see manifesting in our world today.  In Chapter 15 I talk about the masculine feminine imbalance that has dominated human evolution on this planet and how the message of Love taught by Jesus brought feminine energy into the concept of god in Western Civilization.  I also point out how this is one of those good news / bad news situations.  It is bad news because people that are stuck in black and white thinking don’t have the capacity to pick the baby out of the bathwater – thus truth is seen as a question of right and wrong, us versus them.  Some people feel the resonance of Truth in the message of Love and accept the dirty bathwater with the baby – while others reject the shame and judgment and throw out both.  I used to throw out both because of the shame based religion I grew up in.  My recovery helped me to find the wisdom to separate and discern so I could pick the baby out of the bathwater.  The wisdom to discern the difference is the key to balance, inner peace, and freedom.

The teachings of all the Master Teachers, of all the world’s religions, contain some Truth along with a lot of distortions and lies.  Discerning Truth is often like recovering treasure from shipwrecks that have been sitting on the ocean floor for hundreds of years – the grains of Truth, the nuggets of gold, have become encrusted with garbage over the years.

In the process of escaping from my black and white thinking and trying to discover a Spiritual belief system that supported the belief that I was Lovable and worthy, I was led to question any belief that didn’t support Love and my intuitive belief that we are all ONE.

In my personal recovery, I found that I needed a Spiritual container large enough to allow for the possibility that I was not a defective, shameful being.  I searched until I found some logical, rational means to explain life in a way that would allow me to start letting go of the shame I was carrying and start learning how to be Loving to myself. – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light   Chapter 14 Spiritual Manifesto

The bottom line for me in my quest to find a concept of a Higher Power that could Love me can be summed up in a couple of places I quoted myself in Chapter 12Codependency in New Age Movement. 

“What matters are questions like:  How does this information apply to my healing process today?;  How can this message help me see myself more clearly?;  Can the information help me to forgive myself and be more Loving to myself?;  Is the information and the way it is being presented about Love – does it support Love or is it empowering separation?” – The True Nature of Love part 6 – Twin Souls, Souls Mates, and Kindred Spirits

“There is Truth in all religions, spiritual belief systems, esoteric practices, etc. – but there is also twisted, distorted misinformation in them all. . . . . If our intellectual paradigm is limited, then we cannot see and hear clearly.  If our emotional wounds are being allowed to unconsciously run our lives then we are incapable of Truly understanding our intuition.” – My Spiritual Belief System and the New Millennium

The bottom line to my message in the Spiritual Manifesto of Chapter 14, is that the meaning and purpose of life is Spiritual.  We are on a journey to reconnecting with Love – to learning how to Love our self so that we can open up Loving, and being Loved by, other human beings – by our neighbors.

The reason that we have not been Loving our neighbor as ourselves is because we have been doing it backwards.  We were taught to judge and feel ashamed of ourselves.  We were taught to hate ourselves for being human.

We are here to learn to Love ourselves so that we can Truly Love our neighbors.  We’ve been doing it backwards:  hating our neighbors like we hate ourselves.

It is kind of a cosmic joke, see.  We have been taught that we are human and that it is bad and shameful, and that we have to somehow earn the right to be Spiritual.  The Truth is that we already are Spiritual and there is nothing bad or shameful about “being human.”

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are here to experience feelings and touch and Love.  The goal of the healing process is not to reach someplace where we are above all the human experiences and feelings. We are here to feel these feelings.

As I say at the end of that chapter:

“It is certainly not necessary for you to agree with my beliefs – but please for the Love of Jesus (or Allah, or The Goddess, or Jehovah, or whatever name resonates for you as a representation of a Loving Higher Power) and for your self, question any belief you are carrying that is blocking you from opening up to Love.” – Chapter 15 Spiritual Manifesto

Love is our quest.  Recovery from codependency – the inner child healing work – is a path to reconnecting with Love, to learning to give and receive Love.  It is a terrifying, painful, Joyous, fascinating, awe inspiring journey.  I recommend in highly. 😉 ~ Robert 7-7-03” – Joy2MeU Update Newsletter 2 June 2003

Sacred Spiral

The Update Newsletters I used to write regularly are often very long and contain a lot of really valuable information about the recovery process as I share my processing through my issues.  This is the rest of a page on Loving and Losing that I first published in July 2005.   The page both were taken from is the second page of the Newsletter portion of the June 2003 Update.  (the sharing there starts off with The Road gets Narrower – and begins a discussion about being alone and loneliness that continues in Newsletter Discernment Part 1).

In that Update and the Newsletters I was talking about the latest chapters in the online book I was publishing at that time.   The sophisticated discernment was referring to that work: Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life – which is part of Dancing in Light a subscription area of the site that includes “some of the most sophisticated of my writings – dealing with very advanced levels of recovery and some revolutionary and controversial perspectives on metaphysics, spirituality, and enlightenment.”

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Joy2MeU Journal

There are quotes in this excerpt from The Joy2MeU Journal.  The Joy2MeU Journal is “a body of work in a password protected part of the site where Robert is publishing the story of his Spiritual Path (11 part), a ongoing personal recovery journal (58 installments), and portions of his Trilogy (14 Chapters of a Magical, Mystical, Spiritual Fable) and Attack on America (11 Chapters) books not available on regular Joy2MeU site.

Special offers for either / or both subscription areas of my site are on this sale pageFor the rest of July 2020, I am offering a free subscription to either The Joy2MeU Journal or the Dancing in Light sections of my website to anyone who emails me at joy2robert7@gmail.com

Due to the pandemic I am now offering myA Empowering & Life Changing Workshop on Zoom. An Intensive Training in Robert Burney’s Spiritual Integration Formula for Inner Healing / Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing – on Zoom – https://www.joy2meu2.com/workshop-zoom 

 

deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues

Doing workshops, or any speaking in public – or for that matter in private counseling sessions in person or on the phone, or any opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope – is always a type of Goddess stroke for me anyway.  Anytime I have a chance to speak my Truth, to share the beliefs and knowledge which I so passionately embrace, I get to touch the Divine.  I get to be a channel for Love to flow through.  (One of the things I want to talk about in this Newsletter is that it can be easier to be a channel for Love to flow through than a receptacle for Love to flow into.)”

It was at this point that I took the deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues.  The quote above is the first part of my Joy to You & Me & Joy2MeU Update Newsletter from October of 2000.  The deep dive into my fear of intimacy issues was part 2 of that Update – and is what follows.

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

It takes a lot of courage to open up to receiving Love.   What we want the most is also what terrifies us the most – because of the toxic shame we are carrying, the core wounded place where we feel unworthy and unlovable.   We are afraid that we will get that which is most important to us – and then have it taken away because of our unworthiness.

In the Joy2MeU Journal, I have a series of articles called The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.”  This started out as a recovery autobiography of sorts.  A relating of my Spiritual Path, of my healing process over the years since I got into recovery on January 3, 1984.  It evolved into not just a history of the past 16 + years, but into a journal of my process for the past year and a half since I started that Journal.  Here is an excerpt from the first of 3 articles in that series that relate how I ended up in a 30 day treatment program for codependence in 1988 that saved my life.

“One day in particular I remember driving home from work in a very agitated emotional state that I couldn’t quite identify or get a handle on.  The Universe in it’s great power and perfectly unfolding wisdom caused one of those miracles of coincidence to occur.   As I was nearing my home, a song came on the radio.  It was the first song that I learned in childhood by listening to the radio.  When I was about 8 or 9 this song had touched me deeply enough that I made the effort to learn all of the words.  It was really a pretty stupid song – but the message in it matched my programming perfectly.  It pushed the buttons of my core wounding that was a combination of my parents not being capable of Loving me in a healthy way coupled with the wounding that resulted from the Spiritual abuse I had suffered at the hands of the shaming religion I was raised in.

The song was about a boy out on a date with his girlfriend when they are in a traffic accident that kills the girl.  The chorus goes something like this:

“Where oh where can my baby be,

The Lord took her away from me,

She’s gone to heaven so I’ve got to be good, 

So I can see my baby when I leave this world.”

As that song ended that day, and I got to my apartment, I felt ripped apart by the grief that surfaced.  I was in my apartment crying and sobbing – with wounded animal-like moans of pain escaping from me.  I was compelled to keep moving from corner to corner in my apartment, crouching in the corner wailing and crying and moaning and then moving to another corner to do it again.

I got in touch with that place inside of me where I know that I am so unlovable and unworthy, such a shameful monster, that anyone who ever loved me would be taken away.  God could see what a sinful, shameful creature I was and would punish anyone who could possibly think I was Lovable.  If I ever deluded myself enough to allow myself to open up to Love from someone who could Truly Love me, I would be punished by having that person taken away.

I discuss in the Journal article The Unfolding Process about the importance to me of the song entitled The Rose, whose chorus goes like this:

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance,

It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance.

It’s the one who won’t be taken who that cannot seem to give,

It’s the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.

I couldn’t for the longest time relate to the last line, no matter how much I related to the first three lines – because I wanted to die

What I figured out eventually was that I was afraid to live not because I might die but because whoever I Loved would die.  That I was such a shameful monster that God would take away anyone who I allowed to Love me.

And I resonated with that when I was 9 years old!

That poor little boy.  That poor man who based his life on such feelings of shame and unworthiness.  Such pain.  To, on some level, choose isolation over the risk of being Loved and having that Love taken away.” – 30 Days in the Desert – Falling Apart and Breaking Through Part I

My particular flavor of toxic shame took on this tone – if I allow myself to open up to Love and be Loved, the person I open up to will be taken away from me.

“It is the Heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.”

This was on a very deep subconscious level.   Something that I uncovered and discovered as my recovery evolved.

All of my issues around abundance – of money, of success, of friendship, of health, of whatever – always come back to my fear of intimacy, my terror of being available for a Loving relationship.  The bottom line is always that toxic shame at the core of my being that says that I am not lovable, that I am defective somehow.

Complex and Convoluted

Part of what I was trying to communicate, in the series on The Recovery Process for Inner Child Healing, was the intricate complexity this process.  Issues are piled on issues.  Each issue has levels and layers of effect – patterns, attitudes, subconscious beliefs, emotional grief energy, etc. – attached to it.

The outer, and most obvious layers, have levels and layers in and of themselves, that need to be worked through to the core issues.   Each time I am at a point of needing to surrender to peeling another major layer, I get to revisit all of my old issues once more – because they are all interrelated and interconnected.   Each time my growth process takes me to a new level – I need to surrender in a major way – I attain a deeper level of honesty, a higher understanding of Truth.  So, my perspective of all of my other issues changes.

The dance of balance, that I talk about in those articles, is an ongoing, ever changing dance.  When my perspective changes in a major way, my relationship with each issue changes also.

Undoubtedly the most telling example of this for me, is in relationship to financial abundance.  For me money has been the most convenient scapegoat, the most potent distraction.   As long as I don’t have enough money in my life, I have a pretty good excuse not to deal with deeper issues.  After all, survival is pretty important.

And the layers and levels of my issues in relationship with money are a convoluted labyrinth indeed.

First of all, I hated the injustice I saw in the society I grew up in.  I am deeply offended by a society that can justify not just homelessness, but so much of the population living in poverty while a small percentage of the population has more money than they can ever possibly spend.  The rebel in me used to get enraged at the callous disregard for individual human rights and dignity created out of the belief systems that underlie capitalism.  (My rebel still can get pretty angry about it, but I have released a lot of rage over the years.)

It is, of course, not just capitalism that can be so cruel.  I believe that it is the patriarchal nature of human civilizations that has created such heartless societies.  Women, who because of the gift of being able to bring life into this world, are naturally more heart connected and innately inclined to have more respect for the gift of an individual human life than men.   (Of course, the ultimate cause is the illusion of separation and the planetary conditions of polarization and reversity that I talk about in my book.)

On a personal level, I hated the power my father gave to money.   My father grew up in the Depression and adapted powerful scarcity issues around money.  So, it didn’t matter that he was making quite a bit of money – he still related to money from a place of fear.  He would spend money on me and my family – but would always have to tell us how hard he had worked for it.  The message I got from his behavior, was that he was spending this money on me but I wasn’t really worth it.  My father never told me he loved me, he tried to show it by “bringing home the bacon” – but it was always grudging, he always complained.  The relationship I formed with money in childhood had shame attached to it.

(To make a point, about the levels of complexity of our issues, I want to note here, how the issues of money were connected for me to being male.  I hated and rebelled against the inhumanity exhibited throughout the history of civilization by the patriarchal system.  I also resented and rebelled against my father who was my role model of what a man was.  And I was taught that god the father (who seemingly endorsed capitalism, genocide, the debasement of women, etc.) would send me to burn in hell forever for being human.  In unraveling my issues about money, I also needed to unravel my issues with my own gender – which also included my relationships with other men, with women, with my own sexuality, etc.  A tangled web indeed.)

I spent much of my life, saying that money and material things didn’t mean anything to me (the rebel’s valiant stand) while giving money great power because I didn’t have enough of it (the sabotaging shame and self abuse cycle of the disease.)

I have spent many years in my recovery unraveling and untangling all of my issues in relationship to money and abundance on a financial and material plane.

I first started to do positive affirmations shortly into my codependence recovery (in late 1986) when I realized that I had a pattern of living in deprivation in terms of living space, car, all kinds of material areas.  The first affirmation that I ever did was not really a true affirmation.  The truest and most powerful affirmations begin with “I am” because that is another name for the God-Force / Goddess Energy.  The first affirmation that I did was:  “God wants me to be happy, healthy, loved, and successful.”

This was a really big thing to me, to think that God might want good things for me.  It certainly was not what the God of retribution that I grew up with would want for me.

Within 6 months of starting this affirmation,  I was driving a new car (new to me), had a good job, and was living in a nice apartment.  I stopped saying the affirmation.  I realized only belatedly that I stopped because I had been focusing on the successful part of the affirmation and I didn’t really believe that I deserved to be happy, healthy and loved yet.

Over the years, I have:  done lots of positive affirmations (at two different periods making tapes of affirmations and messages of Love that I would play as I was going to sleep at night);  positive visualization (visualizing a pile of money on my bed when I came back from a walk, etc. – as a way of affirming that the Universe is capable of any miracle);  bought lottery tickets (as an affirmation and to give myself hope that tomorrow might be the day the Universe showered money on me);  engaged in activities as affirmation (played golf or gone to the movies when the illusion was I couldn’t afford it, just as an affirmation of abundance to come);  expressed gratitude in retrospect for not having money (to honor that in early sobriety it helped me stay sober, and other times when it taught me valuable lessons);  paid attention to mental attitudes that supported scarcity and lack so that I could change them;  worked to change my concept of money to thinking of it as energy that needed to flow;  and many other actions to change my relationship with money.

And the thing that was so important for me to remember, was that money wasn’t the issue at all.  Money is a symbol and a symptom.  A symptom of my wounds – of the causes in my childhood that produced the effects in my adult life.  And a symbol of Love.

What I really wanted was to feel like I was Loved by God.  The bottom line of all of our wounding is feeling separated from The Source.  The only abundance that really matters, is the abundance of Love.

Karma & Past Lives

I want to inject here, that for me – and probably for a lot of people reading this – money was a symbol of the Love we yearned for, we felt deprived of.   That doesn’t mean that people with a lot of money are open to receive Love – or are doing something right that we are doing wrong.   Financial abundance issues are very much tied in with Karma.  Basically, people either have Karmic issues around money or they don’t.  If they don’t then money flows into their life easily.  Often this means that people with lots of money are not old souls.  Many of them are creating negative money Karma in this lifetime that they will have to pay in another.  Some of them are old souls who have settled their money Karma prior to this lifetime – or will in their next lifetime.

“The term “old-soul” refers to the stage of consciousness evolution an individual has attained by this lifetime – it does not mean better than, or farther along than, those who do not have to do the healing. There is no hierarchy in the Truth of a Loving Great Spirit – those who appear to have low, or no, consciousness in this lifetime are simply doing their healing in another space-time illusion parallel to this one. All old-souls are born at a heart-chakra level of consciousness and therefore have more sensitivity, and less capacity for denial, than other people. In other words, the gift of having access to Truth and Love carries with it the price of greatly increased emotional sensitivity.” – Jesus & Christ Consciousness 

It can be much easier in our capitalistic society to make a lot of money, if one is not heart connected.  It is much harder often, to achieve a Spiritual Awakening if one has a lot of money to distract them and make them feel in control.  And it can be a huge challenge for any old soul involved in the healing process to maintain balance once they start achieving financial abundance.

One of the issues which I uncovered in my healing, was a fear that having money would corrupt me.  This was a response to the reality that I had been corrupted by money in past lives.   Money Karma is something that I am settling in this lifetime.

I talk in my book, and in different places on my web site, about the need to not judge ourselves for our resistance and fear.  We have that resistance and fear for a reason.  It is an effect that has a cause.

“One of the reasons on a very deep level, at a soul/higher ego level, that we have resistance to doing our healing and owning our power is because of our past life experiences.

We have all been punished for owning our power in the past!   Whether that was by being burned at the stake for being a healer, or drawn and quartered for being a teacher, or hanged for being a messenger, or whatever.

So we have very good reasons for not trusting God or this life business!

We also have very good reasons for not trusting ourselves because we have all abused the power in the past.  We have had lifetimes when we were teachers who led our students astray, when we were healers or leaders or messengers who took the left-hand path and served the forces of darkness instead of Light.

We have very good reasons for being terrified of owning our power again!

Those are the reasons on the deepest level why we have resistance to the healing process. . .” – All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

All of our issues in this lifetime are reflections of issues that we have been dealing with through multiple lifetimes.  It is not necessary for everyone to get aware of past life issues in order to heal.  By doing your inner child healing, you are not only healing the wounds of this lifetime – but also settling Karma from the past.  It is not necessary to be conscious of where that Karma came from, it is only necessary to be willing to heal our wounds from this lifetime so that we can open up to receive Love now.

A vitally important step in opening to receive Love is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for our issues, for our resistance and fear.  The issues are an effect that had a cause, the fear and resistance are in reaction to past experience – we do not necessarily need to know what those experiences/causes were.  What is important is to start choosing to have faith that there is some Loving Force in charge of this dance, so that we can start forgiving ourselves for being wounded humans.

Blocks to Intimacy

I am not going to focus on money any longer in this Newsletter except to share three of the ways I was at least partially blocked in healing my fear of intimacy issues by my codependent defenses in relationship to money.  Anyone who wants to know more about my evolution in regard to this issue can read my past Newsletters where I reveal the basics of my healing of this relationship.  (Or Journal subscribers can read about it on a more intimate level.)

I devoted what space I have here to money for two reasons.  One, I have realized only belatedly as I write, this is in a way a follow up to my series on the Recovery process and how important it is to stop judging and shaming ourselves for some very complicated and deeply embedded issues.  The other reason, is to set the stage for sharing with you the impact of recent events in my life.

In terms of my fear of intimacy, one very powerful defense that my codependence erected against me being available for an intimate relationship, was my focus on money – or to be more accurate my focus on scarcity, on the near poverty level of existence that has been a pattern in my adult life.  The amount of time and energy I spent on survival seriously subtracted from the time and energy I had available to invest in life – in being Truly alive.

I lived most of my life as if it were a dress rehearsal – and my life wouldn’t really start until I had money.  (Although in my mind I would more often think in terms of getting the relationship, or the success, that would fix me – any fantasy future I entertained by necessity included money.)  Destination thinking.  A great distraction – that isn’t just an excuse.  There is a reality to believing that there is a certain kind of freedom that one does not have in this day and age without having some money.

This is another example of the complexity of these issues because scarcity is both a cause and effect – that causes other effects.

So, I got a lot of great practice in recovery in letting go of the future and just taking life one day at a time.  I have gotten very good at that.  But the reality is, that even though I was able to attain an amazing level of balance and serenity in my daily life in relationship to money issues, there was still a level of stress being generated by the situation.  Even though my conscious stress was reduced to a minimum level by working my program, the subconscious levels of stress affected me emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Secondly, I carried such a suspicion of money, and so much fear about the power of money, that I was afraid that if I got a lot of money before I found a Loving relationship with a woman – that I could never trust that she Loved me for me, and not for my money.  That is a monster of a defense.  Talk about powerful block – both to getting money and to being available for a relationship.

The third way that money factored into my availability for an intimate relationship, was directly related to the Spiritually abusive concept of god that I grew up with – and with an issue that has been very dominant in this lifetime – and that I learned has been a theme through numerous lifetimes.

Here is another quote from The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.

“After that group, I was in a great deal of pain and went to talk to one of the counselors on the unit.  She suggested that I do some right hand-left hand writing to ask my inner child about the pain.  When I did that writing (my dominant right hand for the adult and my left for the child) the message that I got back was astonishing to me.  What the child wrote back was about an incident that had happened in my childhood that I had never thought was important at all.  What the child wrote was something like this:  “When I got hit by the car when I was seven I wanted to die.  They wouldn’t let me.  They made me come back.”

September 19, 1999, almost 13 years since that day – and I sob with the pain of that wound, that child within me.  I just wanted to die.  The most familiar, most overwhelming feeling for most of my life – the feeling that drove me.  From the time I was a little child until well into my recovery, I wanted to die to escape the emotional pain. It wasn’t until 1990 that a shift occurred in my consciousness so that my desire to live became more consequential than my desire to die.  Back then, in 1986, I don’t think I cried very much – I really don’t remember now.  What I remember was my astonishment that something, which seemed to me so obscure and insignificant, should have come out of the left hand writing – and that it had so much pain attached to it.  Later, when I was in treatment in the desert, more would be revealed to me about that incident.” – 30 Days in the Desert – Falling Apart and Breaking Through Part I

What I got in touch with when I was in treatment was that the incident of being hit by the car was in fact a suicide attempt.  What I realized was that I had gotten the message that day when I was 7, that I would not be allowed to commit suicide in this lifetime – and that I had been pissed about that for 30 some years.

My anger was acted out in the passive aggressive nature of my codependence with behavior that was “I’ll show you, I’ll get me.”  The way that I was “showing” the Universe was by punishing my body.  I tried to commit suicide through alcohol and drugs, through dangerous behavior.

I blamed my body for trapping me here.  I felt that it was my body’s fault that I was separated from God.  I have had incredible resistance to treating my body in Loving ways.   After I got sober, I continued to abuse (often in the name of nurturing) my body with cigarettes and food.

I resisted getting healthier and developing a more Loving relationship with my body because of my anger at God for subjecting me to this painful experience.  And in recovery, I resisted changing the relationship with my body – and through it my relationship with being alive – because the Universe wasn’t supplying me with enough financial abundance.

To some very powerful level of my being – probably predominantly the rebel (who often has a strong alliance with the addict) – for me to get healthier before God had proven to me that I was Loved by supplying enough financial abundance, sounded way too much like Catholic crap about earning God’s Love.

I wanted to feel Loved and supported by the Universe before I started to take action to get healthier – so that it wouldn’t feel like I was trying to reach a destination where I earned the Love of God by becoming perfect enough.

It was kind of like I set a boundary with God, that I would get healthy when God supplied me with some financial abundance – so that it felt like God really loved me.

When one is in a power struggle with God that involves refusing to treat self in more Loving ways until I had some proof of God’s Love that involved money – is another monster block to being available for intimacy.

Emotional Incest

The money related issues that have been blocks to Love for me – though certainly dominant and critically important – are but one of the primary vertical focal points of my recovery.  (I am using vertical here to mean that issues related to money exist throughout the levels and layers of my issues – from the most superficial to the deepest and most ancient.)  The other major focal point in relationship to emotional intimacy has to do with my emotional incest issues.

I am not going to go into detail about those here, except to quote from a couple of my articles.  (This first one has a connection with money issues as well.)

“By the time I was eight, I was completely emotionally isolated and alone.  I grew up in a pretty typical American family.  My father had been trained to be John Wayne – anger was the only emotion he ever expressed – and my mother had been trained to be a self-sacrificing martyr.  Since my mother could get no emotional support from my father – she had very low self-esteem and no boundaries – she used her children to validate and define her.  She emotionally incested me by using me emotionally – causing me to feel responsible for her emotions, and feel ashamed that I couldn’t protect her from my father’s verbal and emotional abuse.  The shame and pain of my father’s seeming inability to love me coupled with my mother loving me too much at the same time that she allowed herself and me to be abused by fathers anger and perfectionism – caused me to shut down to my mothers love and close down emotionally.” – Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy

This second one is from an article I published last week on the Suite101 page I edit.

“I discovered that there was a 4 or 5 year old age of my inner child who felt overwhelming shame that I could not protect my mother from my father.  I thought that was my job.  To make my mother happy.

I thought that I was not worthy of Love because I had been unable to do my job.  So, in my adult life I was attracted to emotionally unavailable women who were verbally abusive.  To my disease, it was better to be in relationship with someone like my father, than to fail to do my job in a relationship with someone who was available emotionally.

I had a relationship phobia that for the most part kept me from getting into relationships because I felt I was defective in my ability to be responsible for another person happiness.” – Inner Child Healing – Emotional Incest

I felt responsible for other’s feelings, felt that I was shamefully flawed and defective – and I reacted by sabotaging and abusing myself.   That is the essence of the disease of codependency.

Complicated and convoluted is our wounding and our recovery.  There is a way out however.  The way out is through Love – starting by being Loving to ourselves by not shaming and judging ourselves.

“As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease.  We are feeding the monster that is devouring us.

We need to take responsibility without taking the blame.  We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them.

We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children – and STOP them from controlling our lives.  STOP them from driving the bus!  Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control.

And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned.  We have been doing it backwards.  We abandoned and abused our inner children.  Locked them in a dark place within us.  And at the same time let the children drive the bus – let the children’s wounds dictate our lives.

We were powerless out of ego-self to do anything any different than we did it.  We are powerless out of ego-self to heal this disease.  Through Spiritual Self, through our Spiritual Connection, we have access to all the power in the Universe.

We need to have the willingness: willingness to get to a new level of self-honesty; willingness to start listening to the Loving inner voice instead of the shaming ones; willingness to face the terror of healing the emotional wounds.

Codependence causes us to have a distorted and repressed emotional process, and the only way out is through the feelings.  Codependence gives us a scrambled mind, a reversed dysfunctional way of looking at ourselves and the world, and we have to be able to use the wonderful tool that is our mind while changing our attitudes and reprogramming our thinking.

It seems awfully complicated, doesn’t it?

That is because it is!

On another level it is also very simple.  It is a Spiritual Dis-ease.  It can only be healed through a Spiritual Cure.  It cannot be healed by only looking at the symptoms.  That is backwards.

The cure is available through surrendering control to a Higher Power.  We cannot do this healing by ourselves.  We need a Loving Higher Power in our lives.  We need other Recovering people in our lives.”

Recent Events

I got clear on my mission, and dedicated myself to my path after direct encounter I had with some past life Karma, and the revelations that resulted, in August of 1988.  Since then I have been committed passionately to learning about Truth, Love, and Joy – and serving as a channel to remind others of the abundance of Love and Joy that is available to us all.

I have learned a great deal about opening to receive through the years.  I would never have gotten my book published without the great progress I have made in this area.  I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the miracles of manifestation that have flowed into my path.  The financial abundance that was needed came from a variety of sources.  The major ones have been in the form of people who invested in my book and work, and people who have gifted me with money over the years as a way of thanking me for the impact my work has had on their lives.

If you remember, in the news addendum to my last update, I was in a place of fear around survival – of having a place to live and work.  That adventure was seemingly not going well at all (in my view – perfectly in the Universe’s of course.)  I got to the point – as usually happens – where I surrendered completely to the Universes plan, letting go of living in the area I wanted – and accepting that everything would be OK even if I had to live in someplace that I definitely did not want to live.

The day after I took action to support my acceptance of that surrender, everything shifted.  The magic returned.  The Goddess strokes started coming in abundance.  A phone call with an offer of a financial gift was a message to me to focus on opening up to receive once more.  In alignment with having faith in that manifestation, I started looking at more expensive places in the area I wanted to return to – even though I had no discernible way of paying for such a place on an ongoing basis, though I now had enough to pay the move in cost.

I found a place, and another gift of a larger financial denomination manifested to secure it for me.  Now I have a comfortable place to live in the town I want to live in – and I know the rent is paid for the next couple of months.  An incredible luxury for me.

I still don’t have the money I need to pay off debts, to promote my book and web site in the ways I would like to, to get a car that doesn’t have 210,000 miles on it (one that had a major breakdown a week after I moved into my new place and claimed a big chunk of the most recent financial gift – such an exciting adventure this is ;-), I will go into details about all of this in my Journal where I am going to be focusing my writing energy for the coming future), or for other areas of luxury – like dental work.  But for me this is a place of great and luxurious abundance relative to my experience for the last few years.

The Universe has called my bluff.  This was enough financial abundance to take money off the table as an issue for now – and confront me with the need to surrender to being more Loving to my physical body vehicle.

I have been procrastinating and resisting.  The insight that I had the other day was that I was once again buying into destination thinking.  And that once again, the issues that I was focusing on, were symptoms and symbols.  Underneath, once more is my fear of intimacy.

When I get healthy and lose weight – then I will be available for a relationship.  I will be ready to be fully alive and available for Love when – sometime in the future, when I get there.  I had the same insight that I had in the chain of events leading up to my last encounter with a relationship (An Adventure in Romance) – that is, that I have thrown the romantic within me into a dark dungeon within and sentenced that part of me to remaining there until I feel completely safe and secure to take on the risk of opening up to Love again.

Feel completely safe and secure to opening up to getting my heartbroken again – Ha!   What fantasy world does that happen in?  Who is being dishonest with whom here?  The only way to feel completely safe and secure about taking that kind of risk is to be in denial.  (There is nothing wrong with enjoying the feeling of being in love – what gets us in trouble is buying into the romantic’s fantasy that happily-ever-after has arrived.   We want the fantasy so bad that we do not see reality clearly – and often cast the wrong person in the role of our princess/prince.  It is important to find balance in our relationship with the romantic within – so that we can allow this wonderful part of us out of jail, but not let it make choices based on belief in fantasy.)

I will be ready for an intimate relationship, and to let the romantic out, when I lose weight and get healthier.

What a great codependent set up to resist losing weight and getting healthier!   A perfect set up for the disease dynamic – the codependent three step:

“My father was trained that he was supposed to be perfect and that anger was the only permissible male emotion. As a result, that little boy that made mistakes and got yelled at felt like he was flawed and unlovable.

My mother told me how much she loved me, how important and valuable I was, and how I could be anything that I wanted to be. But my mother had no self-esteem and no boundaries so she emotionally incested me. I felt responsible for her emotional well-being and felt great shame that I couldn’t protect her from father’s raging or the pain of life. This was proof that I was so flawed that, though a woman might think I was lovable, eventually the truth of my unworthiness would be exposed by my inability to protect her and insure her happiness.

. . . Is it any wonder that at my core I felt unworthy and unlovable? Is it any wonder that as an adult I got trapped in a continual cycle of shame, blame, and self-abuse?

The pain of being unworthy and shameful was so great that I had to learn ways to go unconscious and disconnect from my feelings. The ways in which I learned to protect myself from that pain and nurture myself when I was hurting so badly were with things like drugs and alcohol, food and cigarettes, relationships and work, obsession and rumination.

The way it works in practice is like this: I am feeling fat; I judge myself for being fat; I shame myself for being fat; I beat myself for being fat; then I am hurting so badly that I have to relieve some of the pain; so to nurture myself I eat a pizza; then I judge myself for eating the pizza, etc. etc.

To the disease, this is a functional cycle. The shame begets the self-abuse which begets the shame which serves the purpose of the disease which is to keep us separate so the we don’t set ourselves up to fail by believing that we are worthy and lovable.” – A Dance of Suffering, Shame, and Self-abuse

Now, I certainly don’t shame and judge myself like I used to, nor do I beat myself up for my resistance so much.  I have been uncomfortable recently however because I have been out of balance in certain areas.  And it was only a couple of days ago that I realized that I was again facing what I describe in the Adventure in Romance as “that ferociously monstrous beast known as The Terror of Intimacy.”

In writing this Newsletter, I have gotten a brand new insight.  I have just become conscious of a truly monstrous terror that lurks under the ones that I had identified previously.  What I mean, is that though one of the earliest awareness that I had in my inner child healing was about the song I spoke of above – I have never looked at that insight’s relationship to my fear of intimacy issues in quite the way I am right now.  I am looking at it with a new perspective from a much higher level of consciousness.  I have just uncovered the monster that was hiding under the monsters that I had previously become aware of in my recovery.

I had a terror of abandonment and rejection which I had realized was the lesser of two evils for me.  I had discovered and been working on healing this.

“Through revisiting the eight year old who I was I get to understand on a new level why I have always been attracted to unavailable people – because the pain of feeling abandoned and betrayed is the lesser of two evils.  The worst possible thing, to my shame-based inner children, is to have revealed how unworthy and unlovable I am . . . . It is no wonder that at my core I am terrified of loving someone who is capable of loving me back.” – Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy

My fear of intimacy is only about abandonment and betrayal, about being revealed as unworthy and unlovable, on the surface.  Those are symptoms, which I had been seeing as the core.  The core is that I am terrified of fully embracing life and Love – of finding someone who I Love and who Loves me back – and then having her taken away by God.

Uncover, Discover, Recover

This is great!  In trying to explain the process, I just pealed another layer.  In uncovering and discovering another deeper level to my fear of intimacy issues, I have gained the power to start healing them at a deeper level.

The wounded parts of me, to use a simile I have used before, are like an abused puppy cringing in fear of being abused again.  The wounded part of me that so craves intimacy, romantic intimacy with a woman, has been deprived of touch, affection, and Love – wants desperately to be petted – but is terrified of trusting someone enough to open up to Love.  The only alternatives I had experienced were someone who didn’t know how to pet and was abusive (Dad) or someone whose petting carried with it the impossible task of being responsible for that persons emotional well being.

The defenses that my disease created to protect me from disclosing my unworthiness and shameful inability to insure a woman’s happiness (Mom) caused me to pick women who were abuse and emotionally unavailable (like Dad).  Such a sad, twisted dance.

My last relationship encounter (recounted in An Adventure in Romance) combined both of these themes in a way that allowed me to do a great amount of healing around these issues.  I got to feel Loved by a woman in a way I had never known before and open up completely to that Love – whereupon that person swung from being Loving and giving to being unavailable and abusive.  A situation which in the past would have caused me a great deal of shame over my unworthiness.  A great opportunity for growth.  I summarize some of the lessons at the end of that article:

“I have learned:

That when I know who I am and have my self-esteem rooted in my Spiritual connection then I have nothing to fear from intimacy.  I can be hurt for certain because I will be choosing to give some power away over my feelings – but hurt is part of life and well worth the adventure of Loving and Losing.

That it is Truly possible to do enough healing to be able to open my heart to someone and then not take it personally when the other person “rejects” me – because I Truly know in my gut that she is just reacting to her wounds not to some inherent flaw in my being.

That I can have my worst fear of abandonment and rejection appear to come true and not give it any power because I do not have to buy into the disease telling me that it is my fault – that I did something/said something/am something that is wrong/a loser/a mistake/unlovable/unworthy.  This is such a gift – to know that I can keep the critical parent shut up and out of the game is Truly an Amazing Miraculous reward for being willing to do my healing.” – An Adventure in Romance

I made a great leap in healing my fear of intimacy in that encounter.  So, it has been puzzling to me, in the time since then, why I still felt such a great deal of resistance to being open to relationship.  I had not – in the almost two years since that adventure began – really focused too much on my fear of intimacy issues because the money issues were providing such a distraction.  The recent events that took money out of the spotlight, put me back in a place where I needed to get honest with myself on a new level about those issues.

When I realized recently that my resistance to doing the physical healing and balancing was really about my fear of intimacy, I still wasn’t sure what that meant.  Now, in writing this page, I have uncovered and discovered why I still have so much resistance.

The fear that if I get into a Loving relationship with someone who can Love me back – that person will be taken away, probably through death.  If I open up to embracing life fully and with gusto, then – when I finally relax into enjoying being fully alive – I will be crushed in an unbearably painful way.

Since I did not have a parent die while I was a child (something that can cause a person to have this kind of issue), the cause must lie in past lives.  I know intuitively that I have lost my Loved one through death in past lives.  That was why that little boy resonated so much with that song – it spoke to him out of some past life experience, and mirrored his emotional reality in this one.

That stupid song that held so much power for me as a little boy, that was one of the first stimuli to trigger some deep grief work for me when I had been in recovery long enough to recognize what was going on, is the key to healing my resistance to opening up to receive.  Though I had been aware of it for many years, I have never seen it as I see it now.  Until I reached the level of healing I am at now, until I had raised my consciousness to the place it is at now – I could not understand the full implications of what that song had disclosed to me.

Here I am trying to explain how the process works – with it’s levels and layers of healing – and in doing so, I have pealed another level for myself.  Perfect!

What a wonderful discovery!  This is where the biblical quote “The Truth shall make you free.” resonates with such Truth.  (As well as the one about how “the little child shall lead them.”)

By uncovering another layer, I uncover a deeper wound – which then gives me the information I need to start disempowering the emotional wounds and programming that wound caused, and start removing the blocks it triggers.

I had no idea when I started to write this article that this is where I would end up.  Incredible!  First I will give you an insight into the kinds of things that I will start to do, to change and overcome this programming.  Then I will share just a bit about how powerful this is for me.

Changing the programming

I explain the inner child healing process throughout my site, so I am not going into a lot of detail here.  What I will share are the types of messages I will be using to help myself reprogram the intellectual paradigm that is dictating my relationship with being open to a romantic relationship.

“Some of the things that I keep telling others (because I teach best what I need most to learn) is that:

1. We need to know and tell ourselves that it is truly better to love and lose than never love at all.

2. That there are no mistakes only lessons.

3. That everything is unfolding perfectly and there is a Loving Higher Power who is guiding the process.

4. That the right people come into my life at the right time (this does not necessarily mean a wonderful relationship – sometimes it means the right person to teach us how to set boundaries or defend ourselves or know when to walk away.)

 5. That it is important to change our definition of a successful relationship – a successful relationship is not necessarily one that lasts for the rest of our lives, it is one that we learn and grow from.

It is a great risk to open up to and care about another person – and we will feel hurt at times because hurt is part of life – but it is a risk that is worth taking because if we never take the risk we can never be Truly alive.” – The Heart Break of Romantic Relationships – part 3

In addition to the messages that I list in that article, I will be adding one that I have spoken hundreds of times in working with other people – without ever realizing the personal importance that message carried for me.

“The reality of life is that we are born alone and that we die alone – and for most of the time in between we are alone.  Everyone in our life leaves us or we leave them sooner or later.  It is better to accept that reality and make the best of life, than to be a victim of life not being what we want it to be.”

Everyone dies.  Anytime we take the risk of Loving, we open ourselves up for the pain of losing.  It is better to Love and lose than to be the victim of our fear.  It hurts more to not open up to Love than it hurts to Love and lose.  This is the essence of the dysfunction that is codependence.  It does not work.  In trying to avoid getting hurt, we never Truly experience being alive.

Through doing our healing, we can stop reacting to the old tapes and old wounds.  We can learn to have internal boundaries that allow us to let the adult on a Spiritual Path make the choices – instead of the disease, instead of the desperately needy child, instead of the fear.

What I am going to start telling myself, start telling my inner children, is that even if I find a person that I can Truly have a Loving relationship with and that person dies – it will be better than not opening up to Love.  The reality that we all die, is all the more reason to live life to the fullest while we are here.

I have never really been afraid of death – because that will mean I get to go Home.  What I have been afraid of was getting too attached to this place and to a romantic relationship with another human, and having her go home before me.  That has been at the core of my terror of intimacy – of my fear of embracing life to the fullest.

Big Breakthrough for me

This is a huge breakthrough for me.  The intricate perfection of the process just blows me away. This is a Truly amazing process.

I did not know when I started this article off with the quote about the stupid song, where that was going to lead.  I did not know when I was guided to mention the encounter in August 1988 with a past life, that I was going to be focusing on that lifetime once more.  For it was that lifetime, that holds the key for me.

I have mentioned in my Trilogy, the terror that I feel when I think of that lifetime – and I felt that terror again today.  I have been stalled in my writing of the next two chapters of the narrative portion of my Trilogy, because I have been afraid of revisiting that lifetime.  I have been stalled in writing the last article in the series about 30 days in the desert because once I write that article I will then need to write the next article about the events of the summer of 1988 – which will include the Karmic recreation of that lifetime that I experienced.

I have known there was a reason for the resistance and procrastination, and also known that I would get to it when the time was right.  This is so directly connected to the message I am trying to share about not judging and shaming ourselves for our resistance and fear, as to be mind boggling.  Here is a quote from my book:

“What I have found is that in many instances even though the levels that I can see, that I am conscious of, are mostly dysfunctional – arising out of the false beliefs and fears of the disease of Codependence – on deeper levels there are “right on” reasons for behaviors for which I was judging myself.

As one simple example, I used to really judge myself and beat myself up because I had a very hard time meditating.  I could not get quiet enough inside to do meditation in the “right” way and I thought that that meant there was something wrong with me.  I thought that my resistance meant that I was somehow defective.  But what was revealed to me was that I had died in meditation in a past life, which made my resistance make sense in a whole new way.”

The lifetime in which I died in meditation was a Celtic lifetime.  I was Druid priest involved in an initiation rite which involved summoning up and facing my worst past life memory.  The pain and shock of it killed me.

The reasons that I am so drawn to Cambria – the place I feel at home, that the recent financial gifts allowed me to moved back to – is because of the powerful Celtic resonance I feel here.   I did not know that when I first moved here.  It is something that I have written about in my Journal – something that I have figured out over the years.  A powerful energetic connection that is about someplace else.

Now I am back here.  Now, I am going to get to face that lifetime again – because the lifetime where I lost my Love, is also the lifetime whose horror killed me as a Druid.

Things are starting to get really interesting here.

Thank you for being there to share in my process.  Thanks for helping to this new level of healing. – from Joy to You & Me & Joy2MeU Update Newsletter October 2000 Part 2

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

I have over 50 Update Newsletters with millions of words of processing in them.  Anyone who wants to check them out can see the list on the lower part of my siteindex page. (Anyone who is curious about the spiral that I use in my writing and website, here is a page that explains the Sacred Spiral.)

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

The Joy2MeU Journal includes a personal journal of my recovery process as well as my personal story “The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul.”  In it I share the story of my recovery.   I have a page that includes special offers on lifetimes subscriptions to the password protected areas of my website Joy2MeU.com: Dancing in Light and the Joy2MeU Journal.  Millions of words of content not available on Joy2MeU.

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.

Book coverReading 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, or eBooks & books from Barnes & Noble  or eBooks thru Kobo ) 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: and also on this page on my mobile friendly site

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. 

I now have a mobile friendly site index with listings of over 170 of my articles on Mobile Friendly sites,  There is a page on that site with special offers for the Holiday Season 2019.

Chapter 7: Multiple levels of selfishness

I want to clarify and expand on the response I wrote in 1998 to reflect what I reiterate in so much of my writing, that recovery is not black and white – there are multiple levels to everything, including our motives. 

“Codependence is a disease of reversed focus – it is about focusing outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth.  That sets us up to be a victim.  We have worth because we are Spiritual Beings not because of how much money or success we have – or how we look or how smart we are.  When self-worth is determined by looking outside it means we have to look down on someone else in order to feel good about ourselves – this is the cause of bigotry, racism, class structure, and Jerry Springer.

The goal is to focus on who we really are – get in touch with the Light and Love within us and then radiate that outward.  I think that is what Mother Theresa did.  I can’t know for sure because I never met her, and it can be difficult to tell looking from the outside where a person’s focus is.  Mother Theresa could have been a raging codependent who was doing good on the outside in order to feel good about herself – or she could have been being True to her Self by accessing the Love and Light within and reflecting it outward.  Either way the effect was that she did some great things – the difference would have been how she felt about herself at the deepest levels of her being – because it does not make any real difference how much validation we get from outside if we are not Loving ourselves.  If I did not start working on knowing that I had worth as a Spiritual Being – that there is a Higher Power that Loves me – it would never have made any real difference how many people told me I was wonderful.” – The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages! Chapter 1

I believe that Mother Teresa probably accessed the Truth within her and started focusing on that – which led her to do for others.  What is typical of a Spiritual Path in the beginning of awakening to consciousness, is that maybe 10% of the levels of our motives are focused on Higher Truth – our intuitive guidance – and 90% about stopping the pain.  As I said in an early chapter we don’t just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I think it would be fun to do some emotional healing today.”  We start our healing process because we are in pain. 

As we commit to following our Spiritual Path wherever it leads – to our own Higher Self being True – that percentage increases over time because having the faith to commit to following a Spiritual Path produces miracles which increase faith.  If Mother Teresa was a Truly Enlightened being, maybe by the end of her life her focus was 90% on serving her Soul, the Higher Truth she had accessed through her inner channel – and only 10% of the levels involved in her motives still coming out of damaged human ego self, out of trying to earn Love, to prove worth.

I am just kind of pulling those percentages out of thin air, in order to try to make a point that recovery is about progress not perfection.  We make gradual progress in becoming more conscious and focusing on higher purpose rather than the baser / humanly selfish levels.  We were never doing things completely out of ego selfishness, we just had to lie to ourselves about it because we were taught it was shameful.  It is not a black and white dynamic.  Our motives are never just codependent – we do care.  It was because we were taught that it is shameful to be selfish that we had to learn to be dishonest with ourselves.  It is because we are not owning all the levels of our motives – including the selfish, self serving ones – that we are not seeing ourselves clearly.  Codependency in relationships starts with our relationship with our self.  It is our relationship with ourselves that is dysfunctional – which causes us to be dishonest and manipulative with others.

When I was being nice to people while still completely unconscious to my disease, it was in part because I am a good person, a nice person – a being with a True heart connection.  But I was blinded to my True Self by all the dysfunctional messages I had gotten in childhood.  Those messages were both directly stated – by my parents and teachers, by the Spiritually abusive lies of a shame-based religion, by other people, including other children – and indirect from:  the role modeling of the adults in my life;  from fairy tales, books, movies, songs, etc.;  from the interpretations of my undeveloped mind based upon how it felt to be a human child.  I suffered emotional trauma because of the behavior of the wounded human beings around me.  So my perspective of myself – as a physical, emotional, spiritual being – was distorted and warped.  I could not see myself clearly – so could not see life and other people clearly.

So, I was doing nice things for other people in part because of who I Truly am – but I had to lie to myself and tell myself that the only reason I was doing those things was because I was a nice person.  I was dishonest with myself about the fact that I had expectations of getting something in return – that I was in part at least, being manipulative.  That dishonesty led me to feeling like a victim of other people not doing what I wanted them to.  (see Serenity and Expectations.)

It was this dishonesty with self that kept me being a victim, a negative co-creator in my life.  When I got into recovery is when I started to make a transition to being a positive co-creator in my life.

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

unhealthy selfish vs healthy selfish

The Dance

“The Twelve Step Recovery process is so successful because it provides a formula for integrating different levels. It is by recognizing that we are powerless to control our life experiences out of ego-self that we can access the power out of True Self, Spiritual Self.  By surrendering the illusion of ego control we can reconnect with our Higher Selves.  Selfishness out of ego-self is destroying the planet.  Selfishness out of Spiritual Self is what will save the planet.

It is because there is more than one level of reality that life is paradoxical in nature.  What is True and positive on one level – selfishness out of Spiritual Self, can be negative on another level – selfishness out of ego-self.  What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly.

Humans have always had expressions that describe the paradoxical nature of the life experience.  Every ending is a beginning.  Every cloud does have a silver lining.  For every door that closes, another door does open.  It is always darkest before the dawn.  Every obstacle is a gift, every problem is an opportunity for growth.”

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

One of the messages that most of us got in childhood growing up in a codependent society was that it was bad to be selfish.  We all have within us an archetypal inner child that is completely self centered and wants immediate gratification.  What I call the king/queen baby.  “I want what I want and I want it now.”  It comes in the stage of early childhood development where we are developing a sense of individual identity.  A couple of the big words at that age are “no” and “mine.”

Because the societies we grew up in were stuck in a polarized view of life, we got the message that selfishness was wrong, bad – and that unselfishness was good.  Since one of a child’s jobs is to manipulate his/her environment to survive, we learn to manipulate to get what we wanted.  Since we got the message that it was not OK to be emotionally honest – both from direct and indirect messages, and from the role modeling of the emotionally dishonest adults in our life – we learned to be emotionally dishonest with ourselves in order to cover up our “shameful” selfishness.

All of us are human, and – as I talked about in my January 2002 Update – have levels of motivations that are selfish and self serving on a human level.

“Awakening to my responsibility as a co-creator of my life so that I could align with the process of reprogramming my ego defense, was made possible by the dawning realization that I wasn’t the only one suffering in an emotional hell – that maybe my reality was not being caused by some inherent defect in my being.  That maybe, just maybe, being human wasn’t shameful – and that being imperfect and selfish was a natural, normal part of being human.

I need to keep reminding myself of the fundamental motives – of my need to focus on me and my process, remember I am not doing something for you – so that I can keep aligned with the selfishness of Spiritual Self that is at the heart of the recovery process.  (One of my phone clients suggested that I coin a new word to get away from the negative connotations of selfish – Soulfish, was her suggestion.;-)

In my understanding, the Truth that resonates in the phrase “To thine own Self be True” is about being True to Spiritual Self – the part of me that Knows I am connected to everyone and everything in LOVE – in order to escape the tyranny of unconsciously reacting out of wounded, dysfunctionally programmed ego self.  Ego self is reacting to programming that is trying to keep us separate from others so they do not find out how shameful we are.  (If you are not clear on what I am talking about here see Powerlessness & Empowerment – why the 12 steps work.)” – January 2002 Update Newsletter 

Being honest with our self about selfishness out of damaged ego self – owning it, learning to accept it without shame and judgment – is what allows us to start taking power away from it so that we are not letting it dictate and define our life today.  Denying that we have base ego centered motives is part of the dishonesty of codependency – is a reaction to toxic shame about being human.  One form of codependency is deluding ourselves into thinking that we are doing things for other people just out of the kindness of our hearts and are not expecting any payoff for what we are doing – it is emotionally and intellectually dishonest.

“In order to get clear on how to connect to others in a healthy way we must first realize and define how we are separate from others.  On the level of our physical being, our ego-self, we are separate and need to own that before we can open up to consciously experiencing how we are connected to everyone and everything.  We need to see our relationship with ourselves clearly in order to see our relationships to others clearly.

One of the things that I had to get clear on in order to start learning who I am was selfishness.  I had been taught that it was bad to be selfish and that I should do things for others.  I learned to steal energy from others through what I was telling myself were unselfish acts.  I was just being a “nice guy” and did not expect anything in return – Bull.  I always had expectations – I just was not being honest with myself about them – because I had been trained and conditioned in childhood to be dishonest with myself emotionally and intellectually.

I had to come to a realization that there is no such thing as an unselfish act.  If I rescue a stranger from a burning car wreck, it does not have anything to do with the stranger – it has to do with my relationship with myself.  I believe that every thing a human being does has a pay off – and it was a very important part of my growth process to start looking for those pay offs.  I had to learn to get honest with myself and stop buying into the illusion that anything I did was for some one else.  I had to stop looking outside for the energy boost I got from doing something nice so that I could own that the energy boost came internally.

The power / energy / juice that we need comes from within – not from outside.  People, places, and things can sometimes help us to access the power that is within us – but they are not the source of that power.  The source is within!” – The True Nature of Love, Part 4 – Energetic Clarity

We access the Source Energy, are connected to our Higher Power, internally – through our inner channel.  The outer / external dependence, the reversed focus of codependency, causes us to think that treating another person with respect and kindness earns us worth – proves to our self and others that we have worth.  This is reversed and dysfunctional in my opinion.

What I believe is healthy and functional is owning that we have worth as Magnificent Spiritual Beings having a human experience – and then we can see and honor other people because they are also Magnificent Spiritual Beings who have been wounded by this human experience.  It is by consciously owning that we have worth inherently – that we are children of God / The Goddess, part of The Great Spirit, extensions of The Universal Force – that we start treating others with respect and kindness because they are also manifestations of the Divine.

And Loving other wounded humans, treating them with respect and kindness, includes setting boundaries with them if their behavior is abusive.  We can Love their being while protecting our self from their behavior.  Allowing another human being to treat us with disrespect out of their unconsciousness is not Loving – it is enabling them to stay unconscious.  We demonstrate respect for their Spiritual Self by respecting our inherent worth (which comes from the same place their inherent worth comes from) enough to set boundaries with them about their codependent behavior.

“True self-worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything.  True self-worth comes from awakening to our connection to everyone and everything.

The Truth is that we are like snowflakes:  Each individual is unique and different and special and we are all made from the same thing.  We are all cut from the same cloth.  We are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the Great Spirit.

When we start looking within and celebrating the Truth of who we Truly are, then we can celebrate our unique differences instead of judging them out of fear.”

If I do something nice for another person, the payoff is that I feel good about myself because I am acting out of my higher nature, my True Self – it helps me tune into higher vibrational frequencies and thus get an internal energy boost.  When we are in the moment tuned into higher vibrational transcendent emotional energy is when we feel like our spirit is soaring – is when we are accessing Love and Joy energy from the Source.  Treating another being with respect and dignity is an affirmation of my inherent worth, and my connection to them – and helps me to plug into higher vibrational frequencies, recharge my spiritual batteries as it were.  It is also, often, a way to settle Karma – which is another payoff that serves selfish motives on a higher level.

Treating another kindly out of codependence, in order to prove to myself I have worth, is a reaction to the judgments and shame I feel about myself – and often I am judging the other person as being less than me because I am acting better than them.  If I delude myself into thinking I am being nice to them just for their sake, then I will feel like a victim if they are not nice in return.

“We were taught to be caretakers instead of care-givers.  That is, to take our self-definition – our ego-strength – from what we do for others, rather than giving to others out of our Self as an expression of Love.

This is a matter of focus:  Codependence is a disease of reversed focus.  If you are taking your self-worth from what you are doing for others, you are going to end up being the victim, because they are not going to do what you want them to do in return.  (“After all that I’ve done for you!”)

If you are giving as an expression of self-worth then you do not need anything in return – and that is when you really get the gifts.

Giving should be an expression of the Love we have accessed within – not a way of gaining ego-strength by helping people whom we are judging to be less than us.”

A key difference between healthy behavior and codependent behavior – as I talk about in my article about setting boundaries (Setting Personal Boundaries) – is that we let go of the outcome.  If I am setting a boundary to try to get a certain outcome – that is being controlling and manipulative.  If I am nice to another person to get something in return without owning my selfish motive – that is codependent.  I set a boundary to protect myself and let go of the outcome.  I treat people with dignity and respect because it feels good.  I am being True to my Self by doing so – and I let go of taking how they treat me in return personally.  (This means not allowing the external to define us – rather it is positive or negative.  If they affirm and validate me, that does not prove my worth – just as, if they abandon and abuse me that does not prove my defectiveness.)

And again, this is a relative process.  If I set a boundary, of course I may want a certain outcome – that is human – but I let go of thinking that I need that outcome to be okay.  In my recovery I have learned to set a boundary because it is the kind thing, the Loving thing, to do for me – and I am willing to accept the outcome that is presented, which often includes owning my sadness that I didn’t get what I wanted.  Often in my interactions with other people I want something in return, that is natural and normal – the point is to be direct and honest about it, not indirect and manipulative.

Part of the paradox and irony of recovery is that the more we let go of trying to get external validation to prove our worth, the more external validation we receive.  As long as we think we need that external validation to prove our worth, it won’t work to meet our needs – as I said in Chapter 4 when I was talking about ego self image.

“I could not truly accept / take in / own the external validation because I thought I was living a lie.  I thought I was a fraud and was fooling you when you liked me.” –  Chapter 4: False Self Image

There is nothing wrong with external validation – it is codependent to buy into the illusion that we need that external validation to prove our worth.  This is something I talked about in my Update for October 2000 where I tried to explain how we achieve some balance between different levels:

“In case you are wondering about whether – in the instances above – I was giving too much power to outside validation, I thought I would talk about that a bit.   There is nothing wrong with enjoying validation, affirmation, and recognition from other people or outside sources.  It is if we define ourselves by that outer validation, and think we have to have it to be OK, that we are being codependent.  It is when we jump through hoops in an attempt to get that validation from people that we are being manipulative and dishonest – which is, of course, what many of us learned to do in childhood.

As with all aspects of codependence recovery – it is a question of balance.  Life and recovery occur in the gray area between black and white.  What we are trying to do is maintain some kind of sense of balance in relationship to this dance we are doing.  That involves, as I tried to communicate in the later articles in the Recovery Process for Inner Child Healing series I just finished, being conscious of multiple levels simultaneously – or as close to simultaneously as possible.  And being able to have internal boundaries so that I am choosing how I respond rather than reacting out of the old programming.

Example:  There have been instances, over the years, where I have had the opportunity to be in close proximity to someone that had been a client of mine while they were talking to someone else.  These opportunities have given me a chance to hear the former client use words in describing some aspect of the recovery process – that were the same words I had said to them – as if it were a revelation they had arrived at themselves.  This gives most of me a great deal of satisfaction because I have worked hard over the years to find the best ways of helping people discover the Truth within them in ways that help them not feel dependent on me.  But at the same time, my ego reacts in a negative way saying “hey wait a minute, I told you that.”

In my recovery, I have gradually over the years been able to turn down the voices coming from the ego/from the wounded inner child places/from the disease – and turn up the volume of the small quiet voice of the Spirit.  I have learned how to realign myself with the Spirit instead of giving so much power to the disease – the old wounds and old tapes, the damaged ego.  But if I were to maintain to myself or to you that I never have those reactions, that would be denial.

. . . . . . . This is a relative process.  Progress not perfection.  We can gradually increase the percentage of the time our conscious awareness, our attitudes and mental focus, are aligned with recovery instead of with the disease.  We do not get to wipe out the old ways of thinking and emotional reactions completely – what we do is gradually disempower them.” – Joy2MeU Update – 10-20-2000

As I say in the quote from 1998, it can be hard telling where a person’s focus is while looking from the outside.  It is what is going on within, in our relationship with ourselves, that determines rather our motives are more about being healthy than about reacting codependently.  As we become more conscious of, more aligned with, Spiritual Self, we start owning our inherent worth more and looking outside for validation less.

That is when we can start to Truly Love our neighbor as our Self – and stop letting the fear and shame programming of ego self dictate how we see, and relate to, both our self and other wounded humans / Magnificent Spiritual Beings.  It was vital for me to start getting honest with myself about my selfish motives so that I could take power away from the levels that were in reaction to my damaged ego programming.  As long as I was denying my human selfishness out of a false sense of shame, I was doomed to keep myself trapped on the codependent merry-go-round – looking outside for the solution to a conflict that exists within.

Looking externally to try to heal my wounded soul is what caused me to be trapped in a self perpetuating squirrel cage of self defeating behavior.  The dynamics of codependency – the fact that I was energetically drawn to people who felt familiar, who resonated emotionally with what I experienced with my parents growing up – dictated that I was attracted to people who would not treat me with kindness and respect in return, thus reinforcing the toxic shame, the feeling that there is something wrong with me.

“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 I discuss in my January 2002 Update, it was my base human level of motivation – wanting to stop the pain, stop living in an emotional hell – that caused me to open up to starting to become conscious of Spiritual Truth.  Becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired brought me to a point where I surrendered to learning how to live life differently.  Once I surrendered some of my ego definitions that were keeping me in bondage I started to listen to my intuition – started tuning into Truth from my Higher Self / Power.

Then I could start looking at myself with more clarity and start seeing how dysfunctional my behavior patterns had been.  Then I could start seeing, that yes I am a nice person, but most of the levels of my motives for behaving in the ways I was behaving towards other people was coming from my childhood programming.

Then I started to realize that a very large part of what I was calling being “nice” to others was based upon protecting myself, on selfish human motives.  I was rationalizing when I told myself that I was behaving in a certain way to protect other people’s feelings.  It was important to get honest with myself so I could start seeing how I was taking ego strength from my rationalized concern for others – it was part of how I tried to convince myself that I was worthy, that I was a good person.

I needed to get honest with myself in order to see the selfish motives.  Then I could start to see that the reason that I was being nice to someone was not just because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings – it was much more about protecting myself.  It was what I learned to do in childhood to:  avoid confrontation;  keep someone from getting angry with me;  keep from being abandoned;  try to earn love;  etc.  My defense system was set up to protect me from doing things that I thought would cause me pain – like:  setting boundaries;  speaking my Truth;  asking for help;  being vulnerable;  etc.  So, there was a level of my motives that was about caring for others – but there were more levels that were selfish, were part of the survival programing my ego had adapted in childhood.  My behavior patterns were being driven by the emotional wounds and programming of childhood but I had to rationalize my behavior as only being about the level where I did care about others.

I needed to realize that, yes those people who I was judging for not being nice, were very often abusing me out of the selfishness of their wounded ego – but that in allowing myself to be abused I was also reacting out of ego selfishness.  Both the abuser and the abused are reacting to the programming of their wounded ego.  Both are being a victim of their codependency.  Both the bulldozer who is running over other people and the doormat who gets run over are being selfish out of damaged, dysfunctionally programmed ego self.

I needed to get honest with myself in order to own that it was okay to be selfish and protect myself, but that the ways I was doing it were dysfunctional, dishonest, and unhealthy.   Then I could start to learn new, healthier ways to protect myself and try to get my needs met.

Levels of Motivation

We always have multiple levels to our motives for doing something.  What we need to do is learn how to see ourselves with more clarity so we can be honest with ourselves intellectually and emotionally – and can be discerning in our choices of behavior.   By recognizing how the conditioned programming and emotional wounds of our childhood have dictated our lives, by becoming aware of the ways in which we have been limited and powerless in our relationship with our self and life, we can start becoming empowered to change that programming and heal those wounds.  By accepting our human imperfection, our selfish and self centered ego driven motives, we can stop that level of our being from dictating our life.  We are allowing ourselves to be run by the dysfunctional survival drive of the damaged ego – by the instant gratification needs of the king/queen baby – rather we are rationalizing that instant gratification out of arrogant self righteousness or denying it because of our shame.  There can be no balance as long as we are reacting to extremes.

We need to learn to be discerning about our motives so that we can pick the baby out of the bath water.  Then we can change and disempower the dysfunctional levels and honor the “right on” levels.

“What I have found is that in many instances even though the levels that I can see, that I am conscious of, are mostly dysfunctional – arising out of the false beliefs and fears of the disease of Codependence – on deeper levels there are “right on” reasons for behaviors for which I was judging myself.

. . . . . . .  As another, more universal example, when I started to learn about Codependence, I used to really beat myself up because I found that I was still looking for “her,” even though I had learned about some of the dysfunctional levels of that longing.

I had learned that as long as I thought that I needed someone else to make me happy and whole I was setting myself up to be a victim.  I had learned that I was not a frog who needed a princess to kiss me in order to turn into a prince – that I am a prince already, and just need to learn to accept that state of Grace, that princeness.

I had come to understand that those levels of my longing were dysfunctional and Codependent – and I judged and shamed myself because I could not let go of the longing for “her.”

But as my awakening progressed I realized that there were “right on” reasons for that longing, for that “endless aching need” that I felt.

One of those “right on” levels was that the longing was a message concerning my very real need to attain some balance between the masculine and feminine energy within me – which begets dysfunctional behavior when it is projected, focused, outward as I had been taught to do in childhood.

And on a much deeper level I came to understand that I am – and have been, ever since polarization – looking for my twin soul.

As I become discerning I could learn to pick the baby out of the bathwater, that is, not judge and shame myself for longing for “her” – and throw out the dirty bath water, that is, not take action based on, or give power to, the dysfunctional belief that I am a frog who cannot be happy until I find my princess.

By learning discernment we can begin to become conscious of the reasons that are dysfunctional and based on Codependent beliefs and fears (the dirty bathwater) so that we can change the way we react to those levels, can stop giving them power, and we can honor that there are “right on” levels by not shaming or judging ourselves (the baby) even if we are not sure what those reasons are.”

The Universe used my “looking for her” longing to teach me some very vital lessons in my recovery in the later part of 1988 and through much of 1989.  This was a crucial time in my codependence recovery after I had gone through a 30 day treatment program that spring.  I was living in Taos New Mexico and didn’t have a car for almost a year.  It was actually quite an enjoyable year not having a car – it made winter a completely different experience for me because I was walking everywhere I needed to go instead of having to worry about the car starting, scraping ice of the windshield, and such things.

At that time, I was desperately trying to get clear on how to discern the difference between my intuitive guidance and the impulsive reactions of my codependent ego programming and emotional wounds – between my will and God’s will.  I had realized by that time that when I met someone who felt like my soul mate, it was much more likely to be an attraction based upon familiarity – i.e. someone who was unavailable in a way that would fit my codependent patterns.  I was selfishly trying to get clearer on how to know God’s will so that I wouldn’t set myself up to get hurt.

That summer had given me a huge wake up call that caused me to see that life wasn’t going to be all sweetness and light now that I had been through treatment and learned how to do my grief work.  I had spent most of that summer in Sedona Arizona, and had gotten a very interesting warning from the Universe when I first moved up there.  One day I was walking in the desert surrounded by the beautiful red rock mountains of that area.  I was thinking about how wonderful it was going to be now that I had done so much deep emotional work and learned so many new tools.  I was day dreaming about how exciting it was going to be able to have healthy relationships.  All of a sudden from out of the underbrush burst this mad looking dog barking and snarling and hurtling right at me – and then right past me.  I hadn’t even caught my breath after that scare when the strong odor of skunk wafted by.

The message from the Universe:  I may be a lot healthier, but I still need to watch out for mad dogs and skunks.  The mad dogs in my understanding are the abusive, aggressive codependents – and the skunks are the martyr, victim codependents.  In  other words I needed to learn to be discerning about who I open up to, who I invest time and energy in, because the world is full of wounded people – including, as I already knew, some that claim many years of recovery.  I realized that day that recovery was going to be on ongoing adventure – not some stroll through the park.  And that it was very important for me to stay conscious and pay attention so that I didn’t set myself up with insane expectations, so I didn’t allow the magical thinking inner child to lead me into believing that I had reached happily-ever-after.

Only a short time later I had an experience that really showed me how important it was to be discerning and trust my intuition.  A milestone experience that revealed to me my Karmic mission in this lifetime – that changed my life and altered my path in the direction it has been on since.

It was shortly after that milestone experience in August of 1988 I moved to Taos.  My first few months in the area I lived in a friends ski cabin on Taos Mountain – as I mentioned in the last chapter.  With winter approaching I moved down to a casita – a little studio apartment heated by an adobe fireplace – just a block from Taos Plaza.  Shortly after that I surrendered my car because I couldn’t make the payments.  A walking winter it was to be.

In the latest installment of the personal journal I share in my Joy2MeU Journal, which tells the story of my recovery and spiritual growth process, I wrote about this very vital lesson.  Here is an excerpt from the The Path of one Recovering Codependent – the dance of one wounded soul.

“. . . . . . In his cabin on the mountain, and during the rest of the time I was in Taos, many mystical, miraculous, and magical things happened to help me to better understand the process, the dynamics, my path, everything.  It was in that cabin that I started writing what became the Trilogy.

One of those magical things happened one day as I was out for a walk.  The cabin I was staying in was at 11,000 feet, which was above the ski area of Taos Mountain.  In those days there was an off season in Taos – a time when there were very few tourists around.  There were actually two off seasons.  One in the spring after the ski resort closed until summer started, and one in September, October and early November before the resort opened on Thanksgiving.  What that meant was that I was about the only person on top of that mountain on that day as I was walking.

I was walking along wondering if I would ever have a loving relationship, and probably complaining to God about it a bit.  (One of my phone counseling clients shared an insight he had in an Al-Anon meeting recently – one that I like a lot.  He said he had this image of himself as a child on a trip in the car, asking, “Are we there yet?”  “How long until we get there?” etc.  Anyone who has ever taken a trip with a kid knows this one.  The insight was this:  that pestering, irritating, impatient complaining is probably exactly what it feels like to God when we are constantly wanting to know about the future.  Sounds pretty accurate to me.  Except, of course, the Goddess is quite amused by this, as are we on a higher level – since we are part of the Great Spirit.;-)

Anyway, as I am walking along asking “When am I going to have a relationship?” – all of a sudden a woman comes riding up on a horse.  A beautiful woman that looked enough like the image of my dream woman to really get my attention.  We started talking and discovered that I had gone to high school with some of her cousins in the little town I grew up near.  It seemed like an answer to my prayers.  Hurrah.

Well, it was a message for sure – but not what I thought it was.  Even then, I was far enough on my path to realize that it probably wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

I got her phone number, and in one of our first phone conversations, the topic of what was called Taos Furniture came up.  A type of furniture made in Taos that I thought was really uncomfortable and impractical.  I voiced that opinion.  It turned out that she made Taos Furniture.

I already knew by that time that there are no mistakes.  I knew that the foot in the mouth statements I made were a perfect part of the plan somehow.  I realized that this woman’s appearance on the mountain at the specific time she had ridden up was a message from my Higher Power.  Something to this effect:

“Pay attention.  A miracle can happen any time, any where.  I work in mysterious ways.  You don’t get to know the timing or the reasons.  Yours is to follow where you are lead and keep the faith.  Know that I am with you always.”

This message got reinforced over and over again after I moved off of the mountain into town before the winter set in.   During the rest of the year that I lived in Taos that time, I was really focusing on learning how to follow where I was lead.  I knew that I needed to pay attention to what got my attention.  I came to understand that my HP would get my attention in the way that worked best – which in many cases, was my deprivation issues – my search for Her, my dream woman.

I was without a car that winter (Miracles) so would walk everywhere I needed to go.  As I was walking I would keep asking my HP, at every corner, should I go this way or that way.  I was following whatever path it felt like I should follow to get to wherever it was that I was going.  Often as I was walking through the Plaza, or along the street, I would see what appeared to be an attractive woman across the way, go into a certain store.

That had gotten my attention, so I would go into that store.  It would never be about the woman I saw go in there.  There was always something else, someone else, I needed to see.  There was always some other reason for me to make that detour – even if it was to get the timing of my arrival at the post office just right so I ran into someone I needed to see there.

I got the message real clearly:  that sometimes the Universe uses something, or someone, to get my attention so I alter my path slightly on a different heading – but that I needed to let go of any expectations or projections of where that heading was going to take me.  I learned that I got directions to veer off on a different heading not to get me where I thought I was headed, but rather to get me to a point a little farther down the path where the Universe would once again get my attention and say, “Okay, now come this way for a while.” I needed to keep following where I was led while letting go of the outcome – letting go of projecting any fantasies about the destination I was headed towards.

A wonderful lesson to learn.  Follow the guidance and let go of the outcome.” – My Unfolding Dance 14 – posted July 2002

An invaluable, priceless lesson.  My job is to show up for life today and pay attention.  Pay attention to what gets my attention without judging and shaming myself.  The Universe uses whatever works to get my attention and to motivate me to follow where it wants me to go.  The things that get my attention most effectively usually have to do with my human desires, with longings and unfulfilled needs – that is not shameful, it is human.   Follow where I am led and let go of the outcome.  Let go of assuming, interpreting, fortune telling, projecting my fantasy of where I was going to end up because of what got my attention.

It was absolutely vital for me to get honest with myself so that I could discern between different levels of my motives – so that I could see my self with more clarity.  As I explained in the earlier chapter about ego self image, as long as I wasn’t being honest with myself about my human selfishness, my behavior did not match how I was seeing myself.  This caused me to be dishonest and manipulative.  This prevented me from having any true, healthy emotional intimacy with another human being – because I wasn’t being emotionally intimate with myself.  I had to learn how to be emotionally and intellectually honest with myself before I could start to see other people with any clarity.  That is why the process of learning how to practice discernment internally so I could set internal boundaries (which I will talk about in a later chapter) was so vital to my recovery.

Empowerment comes from seeing reality clearly and then owning that I have choices about how to make the best of reality as it is being presented to me.  It was impossible for me to see reality – internally or externally – with any clarity until I was able to get past the toxic shame I was carrying to see, own, and accept the base, ego centered, selfishness that is an inherent part of being a human being who grew up in a dysfunctional environment.  Once I owned it, I could start to take control of some of the things I can have some control of – my own attitudes and behaviors.

“The higher purpose, the Spiritual motive for making recovery the number one priority in my life is intimately connected to the human motive. Our human motives are not bad or wrong.   There is nothing shameful about being human.  It is vital to stop judging ourselves based upon the belief that being human is shameful.  Codependence is a defense system adapted in reaction to the feeling that it was somehow shameful to be human – to be me.

It is self perpetuating because we react to that core feeling of toxic shame out of a polarized intellectual paradigm that judges us and our behavior as right or wrong.   Our ego relates to life as if it is a test which we can fail by being wrong.  And being human is wrong and shameful according to the beliefs, attitudes and definitions we learned in early childhood.

The more I can take the shame out of my relationship with being human and start changing the dysfunctional intellectual paradigm I learned in childhood – the easier it becomes for me to align with higher purpose, to align ego self with Spiritual Self, to surrender my will and accept God’s will.  I can learn to accept being human, and see how my human motives are connected to my Spiritual purpose so that I can find some balance in life.  So I can start relating to life as a growth process instead of a test that I am doomed to fail.” – January 2002 Update Newsletter 

Recovery / Spiritual growth is a process of realigning our ego self with Spiritual Self so that, from our human perspective, life is less painful and more enjoyable.  No matter how enlightened we become, the bottom line to the human part of us is that recovery is the most functional way to make life less painful, to find some meaning and purpose in life.  Aligning with higher purpose, with Love, is what will meet our selfish human needs as well as serve the Divine Plan and help us reconnect Spiritual Self.  Accepting our human selfishness is piece of the puzzle that allows us to integrate Spiritual Truth into our human experience.

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

That includes the ego – that bloated out-of-balance dragon within.  Thank God for our egos, they are what allowed us to survive.  Thank God for Codependence, without it we would not be alive.  But now is the time to get things into balance – the time to bring ego-self into alignment and balance with Spiritual Self.

That is the transformation which is known as “the death of the ego.”  To quote the St. Francis Prayer, “It is through dying that we awaken to eternal life.”  It is not referring just to physical death, it is referring to the death of the ego which allows us to awaken to the Truth of eternal life.

The death of the ego is not an event – it is a process.  It is not an act of violence – it is an act of Love.  A process of learning to Love.

We are bringing ego-self into alignment with Spiritual Truth. We are reconnecting with our Spiritual nature and Spiritual purpose so that we can find some fulfillment and happiness in life.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 7: Multiple levels of selfishness

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

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

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

The first two chapters of this online book is available through my regular website:  Chapter 1:  The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!

I have published some other chapters of this work as blogs including:  Chapter 4: False Self Image,  Chapter 8 Codependents as Emotional Vampires and Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame.

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

The True Nature of Love – part 2, Love as Freedom

The Dance

“The Universal Creative Force, as I understand it, is the energy field of ALL THAT IS vibrating at the frequency of Absolute Harmony.  That vibrational frequency I call LOVE.  (LOVE is the vibrational frequency of God; Love is an energy vibration within The Illusion which we can access; love is, in our Codependent culture, most often an addiction or an excuse for dysfunctional behavior.) 

LOVE is the energy frequency of Absolute Harmony because it is the vibrational frequency where there is no separation.

Energy moves in wave-like patterns; what enables movement is the separation between the valley of the wave and its peak.  The distance from peak to peak is called it’s wavelength.  It is a law of physics that as vibrational frequency rises, as it gets higher, the wavelength gets shorter.  The frequency of LOVE is the vibrational frequency where wavelength disappears, where separation disappears.

It is a place of absolute Peace, motionless, timeless, completely at rest:  The Eternal Now

The Peace and Bliss of The Eternal Now is the True Absolute Reality of the God-Force.”

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

What is Love?  That is the question.  I have been quite balled up the last week in attempting to write this column.  No, that is not quite true – I have been unable to get into a space to even attempt to write this column.  I need to get into a certain space – need to be feeling a special kind of creative energy – to write about a topic such as this.  It was much easier to write last month’s column about “what Love is not.”  Then I was writing about something much more concrete, much more black and white (the irony of this – since one of the characteristics of the disease is black and white thinking – is fodder for a completely different column.)  The dynamics of the disease and the wounding process are very clear in my eyes.  I have experienced the type of love that is shaming, abusive, manipulative, smothering, intrusive, addictive, etc., my whole life. 

In fact, I learned a new word while writing this column.  As I was composing the above paragraph, and taking note of how much easier it was to write last month’s column, the word empirical came to mind.

So, I did what comes naturally when a word pops to mind – I looked it up.

empirical  1. Relating to or based on experience or observation.  2. Relying entirely or to excess upon direct, repeated, and uncritically accepted experience: opposed to metempirical.

Aha, a new word.

metempirical  1. Lying beyond the bounds of experience, as intuitive principles; not derived from experience; transcendental.

So, even though I just said that it was easier to write ‘what Love is not’ because of my experience – in Truth when I say that Love is not shaming and abusive, I am actually stating my intuitive Truth.  If I were just relying on my experience, I would say “love is shaming and abusive and controlling,” “love is being responsible for other people’s feelings and well being,” etc. – and that would be the Truth about love with a small l.  When I say Love is not shaming, I am talking about the True Nature of Love as I intuitively understand it.  Once I started to awaken to the reality that civilized society on this planet was based upon some false beliefs, then I started to be able to validate my intuitive feeling that something was dreadfully wrong here.  I Knew deep inside, from a very young age, that this was not my home.  I Knew that Love, if it was really such a wonderful thing, should not be so painful – just as I Knew it was ridiculous for both sides in a war to think that God was on their side and would help them kill the enemy.

Love that is Freedom

I could feel that Love must be something much greater than I had learned growing up.  If Love is so wonderful, if Love is the answer – then Love should set us Free.  That is what is coming up as I write this column – Love that is Freedom.  Love that is Joy.  Love that is the only Truth that has ever mattered.

Love that is Freedom – what does that mean?  To me it means the Freedom to be OK with being me.  The Freedom to relax and enJoy the moment.  The Freedom to be – just be, without having to strive, to work for, to try to reach, to prove myself, to earn Love, to get “there.”

It means: Freedom from shame.  Freedom from judgment.  Freedom from loneliness.  Freedom from feeling separate, different, not a part of, not acceptable.  Freedom from the endless, aching longing for something more.  Freedom from the hole in my soul – from the bottomless abyss of pain and shame and sadness that I feel at the core of my being.

This place is not my home.  When I yearn for Love, I am longing to go home.

“I was ‘transported with Joy’, and my ‘spirit was soaring’, as I danced on the rock.  And in my dancing and singing I Truly understood what those expressions meant.  For in being ‘transported’ and ‘soaring’ I was merely tuning into the vibrational frequency that is Joy and Love and Truth.  I could see clearly now how human beings throughout history had been trying to tune into Love.  The primal urge that has caused humans to attempt to ‘alter their consciousness’, through drugs or religion or food or meditation or whatever, is no more than an attempt to raise one’s vibrational frequency.  All any soul in body has ever done is to try to return home to God – we were just doing it all backwards because of the reversity of the planets energy field.” – The Dance of The Wounded Souls Trilogy Book 1 “In The Beginning . . . “ (Chapter 4)

“Humans have always been looking for a way home.  For a way to connect with our Higher Consciousness.  For a way to reconnect with our creator.  Throughout human history, human beings have used temporary artificial means to raise their vibrational level, to try to reconnect with Higher Consciousness.

Drugs and alcohol, meditation and exercise, sex and religion, starvation and overeating, the self-torture of the flagellant or the deprivation of the hermit – all are attempts to connect with higher consciousness.   Attempts to reconnect with Spiritual Self.   Attempts to go home.”

Part of the reason that I have had trouble in writing this column is because of the intellectual context I was approaching it from.  I was thinking that I had to know what I was talking about, had to be able to communicate to you the Truth about Love.  That was pretty silly of me.*  Love is what I am learning about.  Love is what recovery and healing are all about.  Love is the goal.  Love is home.

*[Actually, it was my disease at work – causing me to judge and shame myself for not feeling competent to write about the True Nature of Love. This disease of codependence is so incredibly insidious, treacherous, and powerful.  It continually turns back in on itself.  The disease doesn’t want me to take the risk of Loving and trusting my self and then it turns around and causes me to judge myself because I don’t Love my self.  I don’t Love myself because of the disease – the ego programming that is a result of being wounded and traumatized by being Spiritually orphaned in an alien environment.  By being born into and raised in an emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional, Spiritually hostile, shame based, Love mutilated (mutilate – 1. To deprive of a limb or essential part. 2. To damage or injure by the removal of an important part.) civilization on a planet where civilized societies have evolved based on the belief in separation and fear-based hostility – separation between beings, separation between humans and their environment, and separation between the flesh and the Spirit.  The civilization I was raised in is so sick and twisted that it took the teachings of the Master Teacher who came into body to teach us about Love and twisted those teachings into something shameful and hate-filled.  Jesus Christ carried a message of Love – not shame and judgment.]

“Due to the planetary conditions, the human ego developed a belief in separation – which is what made violence possible and caused the human condition as we inherited it. The reflection of that human condition on the individual level is the disease of Codependence. Codependence is caused by the ego being traumatized and programed in early childhood so that our relationship with ourselves and the God-Force is dysfunctional – that is, it does not work to help us access the Truth of ONENESS and Love. It is through healing our relationship with ourselves that we open our inner channel and start tuning into the Truth.” – Jesus & Christ Consciousness

Now what I thought last month was going to be one column about the True Nature of Love has turned into at least a 4 part series.  In dealing with the shame I was feeling about not knowing enough about Love to write about it’s True Nature, I have in fact been processing through that shame to get to a place where I can be free to write about the type of Love that can set me Free.  So, I will save “Love as a vibrational frequency” and “Love and romance” for future columns.

I have only a little experience with feeling Love that sets me Free – and that has come primarily since I have been in recovery.  In those moments when I am able to connect with Love in it’s True form, then I feel that all of the pain and suffering has been worth the experience.  Then I get a taste of what home really feels like.  Then I get to feel the Joy and Truth and Love that Truly does set me Free from the illusion of separation.  In those moments, I can sometimes even feel grateful for that illusion.  Because without the illusion of separation from The Source Energy, from Love – I would never have gotten the opportunity to experience Love.

I am going to end this column with a continuation of the quote from my book “The Dance of Wounded Souls” which I started it with.   This quote is from the very end of my book.  This is my intuitive Truth.  This is an important part of the understanding which has led to the beginning of my liberation from the shame.  This Truth has helped me to start Loving myself a little bit – to start Loving myself enough to be Free to start believing that maybe, just maybe I am Lovable and Loved.

“The Peace and Bliss of The Eternal Now is the True Absolute Reality of the God-Force.

The illusion of separation – the distance, the separation, between the peak and the valley – is what makes motion possible.  Separation is necessary for energy to be in motion.  The illusion of separation was necessary to create The Illusion.

As part of the ONENESS of ALL THAT IS, we are God and God is LOVE.  We are part of the Truth of ONENESS vibrating at LOVE.  As part of the ONENESS of LOVE we would never have been able to experience Love.  It is kind of like, “If you are sugar then you never get to taste sugar.”

In God we are LOVE.  Without the illusion of separation we would never have had the opportunity to experience Love.  Would never have been able to Love and be Loved.

Separation was necessary to allow us the incredible gift of experiencing Love, of Loving and being Loved.

The Illusion that caused all of the pain is also the vehicle for allowing us to feel and be Loved.

If you pursue your path of healing, I think that you will find as I have that it is very much worth it.  It is worth it to be able to experience Love.

This is the Age of Healing and Joy.  It is time to start remembering who you Truly are, to start feeling and tuning into the Truth which exists within you.

We are all butterflies.

We are all swans.

We are Spiritual Beings.

The Springtime of the Spirit has arrived:  It is possible to learn to Love yourself.

It is possible to be happy, Joyous, and free – if you are willing to be scared and hurt, angry and sad.

You are Lovable.

You are Loved.

You are LOVE.”

Sacred Spiral

Robert Burney is a pioneer in the area of codependency recovery / inner child healing. His first book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time.”  His website Joy2MeU.com offers over 200 pages of free original content  on codependency recovery, inner child healing, relationship dynamics, alcoholism/addiction, fear of intimacy, Twelve Step Spirituality, New Age Metaphysics, emotional abuse, setting boundaries, grief process, and much more.  The Joy2MeU website is designed in an ancient design program which is not mobile friendly.  A new site – joy2meu2.com – is a redesign of joy2meu.com in a mobile friendly format. The Joy2MeU2 siteindex page that will help you to access most of his articles on mobile friendly sites (around 170.) 

Robert recently posted a sale page to generate some income prior to his birthday on July 23rd.  Special Birthday Sale in honor of Robert’s 70th (Egad!!) Birthday!!!  https://www.joy2meu2.com/special-birthday-sale

Joy2MeU Journal Logo

Articles 3 through 6 of this series are now exclusively available in the Dancing in Light pay to view component of Joy2MeU.com  There are special offers for Dancing in Light and Joy2MeU Journal (where the Trilogy quoted can be accessed) subscription areas of Joy2MeU.

 

The True Nature of Love – part 1, what Love is not

The Dance

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

In 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.” – (Text in this color is used for quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

One day several years into my recovery I had one of those insights, those moments of a light bulb going on in my head, that was the beginning of a major paradigm shift for me.  It was one of those moments of clarity which caused me to start reevaluating the mental perspectives and definitions that were dictating my emotional reactions to life.  My relationships with myself, with life, and with other people – and therefore my emotional reactions to life events and other people’s behavior – are dictated by the intellectual framework/paradigm that is determining my perspective and expectations.  So the intellectual attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that are determining my perspective and expectations dictate what emotional reactions I have to life – what my relationship to life feels like.

I am not sure if this particular insight came before or after I had started consciously working on recovery from my codependency issues.  I count my codependency recovery as starting on June 3, 1986 – exactly 2 years and 5 months into my recovery in another twelve step program.  It was on that day that I realized that my emotional relationship with life was being dictated by the subconscious programming from my childhood – not by the intellectual attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that I had consciously chosen as being what I believed as an adult.  To my horror I could see clearly that my behavioral patterns in my adult life were based on the beliefs and definitions that were imposed on me in early childhood.  And I could see that even though these subconscious beliefs were based partly on the messages I received, they were even more firmly grounded upon the assumptions that I made about myself and life because of the emotional trauma I had suffered and because of the role modeling of the adults that I had grown up around.

On that day 13 years ago (now 32 years ago) I Truly was able to see and admit to myself that I had been powerless to make healthy choices in my life because the emotional wounds and subconscious programming from my childhood had been dictating my emotional reactions to life, my relationship with myself and life.  The saying I had heard in recovery that ‘if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting’ suddenly became clear.  On that day, a paradigm shift occurred that allowed me to see life from a different perspective – a perspective that caused me to become willing to start doing the work necessary to change that intellectual programming and heal those emotional wounds.

Paradigm Shifting Insight

That is the way the recovery process has worked for me.  I have an insight that allows me to see an issue from a different perspective.  Once my perspective has started changing, the paradigm has started shifting, then I can see what needs to be changed in my intellectual programming in order to start changing my emotional reactions.  I see where I have been powerless – trapped by old attitudes and definitions – and then I have the power to change my relationship to that issue, which will change my emotional experience of life in relationship to that issue.

(When I started writing this column, I was not planning on focusing so much on the process – oh well, I guess it was necessary, and hopefully will be helpful to my readers.  Maybe, I just wanted to include the fact that my 13th anniversary in codependence recovery is upon me.  Whatever, I will get on with the column now.)

I don’t remember how the particular insight that I am writing about here came about – whether I heard it, or read it, or just had the thought occur (which would mean, to me, that it was a message from my Higher Self/Higher Power – of course any of those methods would be a message from my Higher Power.)  In any case, this particular insight struck me with great force.  Like most great insights, it was amazingly simple and obvious.  It was to me earth shattering/paradigm busting in it’s impact.  The insight was:

If someone loves you, it should feel like they love you.

What a concept!  Obvious, logical, rational, elementary – like ‘duh’ of course it should.

I had never experienced feeling loved consistently in my closest relationships.  Because my parents did not know how to Love themselves, their behavior towards me had caused me to experience love as critical, shaming, manipulative, controlling, and abusive.  Because that was my experience of love as a child – that was the only type of relationship I was comfortable with as an adult.  It was also, and most importantly, the relationship that I had with myself.

In order to start changing my relationship with myself, so that I could start changing the type of relationships I had with other people, I had to start focusing on trying to learn the True nature of Love.

This, I believe, is the Great Quest that we are on.  Anyone in recovery, on a healing/Spiritual path, is ultimately trying to find their way home to LOVE – in my belief.  LOVE is the Higher Power – the True nature of the God-Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit.  LOVE is the fabric from which we are woven.  LOVE is the answer.

And in order to start finding my way home to LOVE – I first had to start awakening to what Love is not.  Here are a few things that I have learned, and believe, are not part of the True nature of Love.

Love is not:

Critical            Shaming            Abusive            Controlling            Manipulative

Demeaning            Humiliating            Separating            Discounting

Diminishing            Belittling            Negative            Traumatic

Painful most of the time            etc.

Love is also not an addiction.  It is not taking a hostage or being taken hostage.  The type of romantic love that I learned about growing is a form of toxic love.  The “I can’t smile without out you,” “Can’t live without you.” “You are my everything,” “You are not whole until you find your prince/princess” messages that I learned in relationship to romantic love in childhood are not descriptions of Love – they are descriptions of drug of choice, of someone who is a higher power/false god.

Additionally, Love is not being a doormat.  Love does not entail sacrificing your self on the altar of martyrdom – because one cannot consciously choose to sacrifice self if they have never Truly had a self that they felt was Lovable and worthy.  If we do not know how to Love our self, how to show respect and honor for our self – then we have no self to sacrifice.  We are then sacrificing in order to try to prove to ourselves that we are lovable and worthy – that is not giving from the heart, that is codependently manipulative, controlling, and dishonest.

Unconditional Love is not being a self-sacrificing doormat – Unconditional Love begins with Loving self enough to protect our self from the people we Love if that is necessary.  Until we start Loving, honoring, and respecting our self, we are not Truly giving – we are attempting to take self worth from others by being compliant in our behavior towards them.

I also learned that Love is not about success, achievement, and recognition.  If I do not Love my self – believe at the core of my being that I am worthy and Lovable – then any success, achievement, or recognition I get will only serve to distract me temporarily from the hole that I feel within, from the feeling of being defective that I internalized as a small child because the love that I received did not feel Loving.

I realized that this is what I had done for much of my life – tried to take self worth from being a ‘nice guy’ or from a princess or from becoming a ‘success.’  As I started awakening to what Love is not, I could then start exploring to discover the True Nature of Love.  I started consciously realizing that this is what I had always been seeking – that my Great Quest in life is to return home to LOVE.

LOVE is the answer.  Love is the key.  The Great Quest in life is for the Holy Grail that is the True nature of Love.

Sacred Spiral

Robert Burney is a pioneer in the area of codependency recovery / inner child healing. His first book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time.”  His website Joy2MeU.com offers over 200 pages of free original content  on codependency recovery, inner child healing, relationship dynamics, alcoholism/addiction, fear of intimacy, Twelve Step Spirituality, New Age Metaphysics, emotional abuse, setting boundaries, grief process, and much more.  The Joy2MeU website is designed in an ancient design program which is not mobile friendly.  A new site – joy2meu2.com – is a redesign of joy2meu.com in a mobile friendly format. The Joy2MeU2 siteindex page that will help you to access most of his articles on mobile friendly sites (around 170.) 

 

 

Chapter 20 Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment “Love in that moment as if you have never been hurt”

 

BookCover3This is a chapter from my book  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

Early in the morning On January 1st, 1999 I wrote out the following to be read at the Commitment Ceremony of two friends that day.  I am editing it for inclusion in this book – and I am thinking that I didn’t really write this for them as much as I wrote it to be guideline for myself over 5 years later when I got into the relationship that I am still in now, in the summer of 2012 as I prepare to publish this book.  I was writing theoretically and intuitively for the most part at 3 am on the morning, because my longest relationship up until that point in my life had been for 2 years – and I was not that conscious when I was in it.  If I hadn’t written this on that morning all those years ago, I don’t think this relationship I am in now – which became a marriage in January 2011 – would have survived. (And it eventually didn’t survive as we have been separated for almost 5 years now in April 2018 – but are still friends and coparenting.  Writing this did help me to stay in that relationship for the longest period of time in my life.)

” . . . What I believe is that you two have been together many times before in other life times.  You made a sacred pact to come together in this lifetime to help each other heal the wounds you need to heal – to serve as teachers and guides and support for each other as you go through this school of Spiritual evolution that we are all in.

It doesn’t matter what you call that – twin souls, soul mates, whatever – what matters is that you honor the power of the connection that you feel.  And that is why you are here today.  To stand here in front of the people you care the most about, to stand here in front of God/The Goddess /The Great Spirit/The Universal Source – and make public Acknowledgment and Affirmation of the sacred commitment that already exists between you.

This is kind of your Soul’s way of tricking yourself into agreeing to what your Souls already agreed to.  In other words, you were powerless in this lifetime to do anything but end up at this moment.

And someplace along the way, I agreed to show up today to remind you, that this is not the ending where the music swells and the romantic couple rides off into the sunset to Live Happily Ever After.  This is just the beginning.

Because Yes you are “gifts from heaven” to each other – but like all gifts in this multi-leveled paradoxical experience of life – there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you have found your soul mate and you are going to touch ecstasy together – you are on the path to learning about the True meaning of Love. That is great news because LOVE is all there Truly is and the only thing that is important.

The bad news is that you have a lot of stuff to work through.  You have lifetimes of history.  You have Loved each other intensely and wounded each other grievously.  You each have specific wounds from your paths in this lifetime that are reflections of the ways in which you have been wounded in other lifetimes.

You each have emotional “buttons” that trigger old defensive reactions, fears and insecurities – and you are sitting next to the person who was specifically prepared and trained to be a specialist in pushing your buttons.  The gift you will give each other by pushing those buttons will help each of you uncover the wounds that need to be healed.

You have come together to teach each other, to help each other heal, to support and encourage each other in your quest to find your True Self.

If you keep healing, working through your stuff – then you do not have to do the dysfunctional cultural dance of toxic romance here.  This does not have to be “the ‘I can’t live without you, can’t smile without you’ addictive, make the other person your Higher Power, be the victim, lose yourself, power struggle, right and wrong, trapped, taken hostage, poor abused me, Two Step.”

What you are doing today is making a conscious commitment in the Light, to support each other on your healing, Spiritual paths.  That’s paths plural.  Your paths are going to run together – hopefully for the rest of your lives – but they are not going to become one path.  You are individual, unique, Special, Magnificent, Powerful Beings who are choosing to become allies, to become partners in the journey to each of you being and becoming all you are meant to be.

You are together because you resonate on the same wave lengths, you fit together vibrationally, in such a way that together you form a powerful energy field that helps both of you access the Higher Vibrational Energy of Love, Joy, Light, and Truth – in a way that would be very difficult for either one of you to do by yourself.  You are coming together to touch the face of God.  You are uniting your energies to help you access the Love of the Holy Mother Source Energy.

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.

It is important to remember that so you can remind yourself that the fear, lack and scarcity messages that will come up – the possessiveness, the jealousy, the clinging, the fear of abandonment and betrayal, the feeling smothered – are coming from the wounded parts of you that got trained and traumatized by this dysfunctional society to view life from fear, lack and scarcity.  Those messages are lies – that is the illusion.  The True Reality of The Universal Source is Joy, Love, and Abundance.

The Abundance of Love and Joy that you can help each other to feel by coming together – are vibrational levels that you then each will be able to access within yourself.  You are helping each other to remember how to access that Love – helping each other to remember what it feels like and that “Yes!” you do deserve it.

It is very important to remember that so that you can Let Go.  Let Go of believing that the other person has to be in your life, has to do things in a certain way, has to feel a certain way at a certain time.   As long as you believe that the other person is the source of your happiness you will feel compelled to try to control them so that you can stay happy.   You can not control them and be happy.

You will need to Let Go.  And Let Go, and let go again.  On a daily basis. Let go of believing that the other person has to be in a good mood or has to like the same things or wants to do things at the same time.  Let go of expecting that they can be there for you in the way you want all of the time.  They can’t.  They are human.  No one can meet all of another person’s needs.  You each need to have resources / friends outside of your relationship.  You each need to have parts of your life that aren’t dependent upon the other.

You will hurt each other, scare each other, make each other angry.  Which will then give you the gift of being able to work through those issues to a deeper level of emotional intimacy.

You have got some stuff to work through – that is both the bad news and the good news.  Because as you reach those deeper levels of emotional intimacy your love will deepen and grow in ways in which you can’t even imagine.  You are boldly going where neither of you has ever been before.  And you have a friend and a partner who is willing to make a sacred commitment here today to go on this adventure with you.

Celebrate that!!  It is an incredible gift!

Grab each moment you can and be present with it.

By being willing to be present to feel the difficult feelings –  hurt, sadness, anger, fear;

by being willing to walk through the terror of embracing life – the terror that this commitment to intimacy can bring up;

by being willing to take the risk of being abandoned and betrayed – to take the risk of completely exposing yourself to another being;

you are opening yourself to Joy and Love to depths and on dimensions that you have only had the slightest taste of so far.

BE each other’s sanctuary.  Be patient and kind and gentle whenever you can make that choice.

The more you do your healing and follow your Spiritual path the more moments of each day you will have the choice to Truly be present the moment.

And in the moment you can make a choice to embrace and feel the Joy fully and completely and with Gusto.

In any specific moment you will have the power to make a choice to feel the Love in that moment as if you have never been hurt and as if the Love will never go away.

Completely absolutely unconditionally with fearless abandon you can embrace the Love and Joy in the moment.

Glory in it!

Loving is the Grandest, most sublime adventure available to us.

Lets your hearts sings together.

Let your souls soar to unimagined heights.

Wallow in the sensual pleasure of each others bodies.

Roar with the Joy of being fully alive.

Go for it!!!!” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 20 Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment “Love in that moment as if you have never been hurt”

Sacred Spiral

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.

Bringing Codependency Recovery Pioneer to the UK in 2017

Robert Burney’s Trip to UK canceled

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

Robert Burney Trip to UK 2017

Book cover

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

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Formula

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

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

Creating the Possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Robert Burney

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

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

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

Location

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

Formats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email us to let us know if you are interested.

Sacred Spiral

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 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

I am living on the Central Coast now (1/2020) and only doing myIntensive Workshops in Morro Bay at the moment.

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.

Chapter 2 Romantic Relationships & Toxic Love ~ Marriage & Divorce

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 2 Romantic Relationships & Toxic Love ~ Marriage & Divorce

In December 2015 I am starting to work on preparing an online book I wrote in 2002 and 2003 for publication as an eBook and possibly as a hard copy book as well. I mentioned this in my last blog which was a chapter from this online book: Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programming ~ Pavlov’s Dog.

I am going to start that process by sharing the second chapter of that online book in this blog. It is an online book in which I found myself exploring new levels and perspectives – both dissecting the dynamics of codependency and recovery on more sophisticated and subtle levels (both psychologically and historically) and discussing different facets of the phenomena in more concrete, practical, and hopefully understandable, terms. I wrote it in response to an online article The codependency movement is ruining marriages! by a marriage counselor who was calling the codependency recovery movement a monster – the first chapter of it is here: Chapter 1 The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!  Here are a few quotes from my Update Newsletters about the online book that grew out of a response to this guy’s article.

“The work grew to something quite a bit beyond what I envisioned . . . . – and includes 15 chapters as of May 2003. I very happy with, and proud of, the chapters that grew out of this initial source. It has since grown into an in depth look at the phenomena of codependency on multiple levels – which in my opinion, is really much larger and more important than just a response to the silly article by Dr. Harley. . . . . .

. . . . . . . There are some places in these pages where I use some quite harsh language in reference to Dr. Harley and his beliefs – and I am going to leave that language as I wrote it. It doesn’t have anything to do with Dr. Harley personally, but rather with the type of ignorant and arrogant white male attitudes that he represents to me. Over a year later, and farther along in my recovery process, I probably would tone down that language some if I wrote these two pages today – not because my beliefs and views have changed, but because I wouldn’t be quite so reactive out of my own personal wounds. Sometimes it takes some harsh language to make a point however, and at this time I do not feel compelled to change the language as I originally published it.” – Robert May 2003

Sacred Spiral

Chapter 2 Romantic Relationships & Toxic Love ~ Marriage & Divorce

The Dance

“This dance of Codependence is a dance of dysfunctional relationships – of relationships that do not work to meet our needs. That does not mean just romantic relationships, or family relationships, or even human relationships in general.

The fact that dysfunction exists in our romantic, family, and human relationships is a symptom of the dysfunction that exists in our relationship with life – with being human. It is a symptom of the dysfunction which exists in our relationships with ourselves as human beings.

And the dysfunction that exists in our relationship with ourselves is a symptom of Spiritual dis-ease, of not being in balance and harmony with the universe, of feeling disconnected from our Spiritual source.

That is why it is so important to enlarge our perspective. To look beyond the romantic relationship in which we are having problems. To look beyond the dysfunction that exists in our relationships with other people.

The more we enlarge our perspective, the closer we get to the cause instead of just dealing with the symptoms. For example, the more we look at the dysfunction in our relationship with ourselves as human beings the more we can understand the dysfunction in our romantic relationships.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

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 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 (Fear of Intimacy – caused by early childhood trauma) is activated. And the problem with far too many romantic relationships – which of course, includes marriages – is that they are inter-reactions, not interactions.

“The single biggest problem with most relationships is that there are too many people involved. A romantic relationship is supposed to be two people in partnership sharing of who they are, sharing their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls with each other.

Anyone who has not done their emotional healing is bringing a plethora of people into any relationship they get involved in. Some of these people include: parents, siblings, relatives; ministers, teachers, the junior high school bully; everyone that they have ever had a romantic relationship with; the Prince and Princess of fairy tales, the lyrics of songs, and the characters from books and movies; etc. Just to think of how many ghosts are in the room, when two unconscious people are interacting, is mind boggling.

Anyone who is unconscious to how the people and events of their past have shaped who they are today, is incapable of being present in the now and having a healthy relationship. When we are reacting unconsciously to the emotional wounds and old tapes from our childhood, we are being emotionally dishonest in the moment – we are mostly reacting to how we felt in a similar dynamic in the past, not clearly responding to what is happening in the present.

As I said in the last article in this series, the single most important component in a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate. We cannot communicate clearly when we are in reaction because we are not being emotionally honest with ourselves.

We all learned to see life and self from a dysfunctional perspective – from a perspective that taught us it was shameful to be bad or wrong. We learned to blame. Since the perspective of life which civilization is founded upon is black and white, right and wrong – we got the message that if we could not figure out how to blame someone else, then it must be our fault. Toxic shame is the feeling that I am somehow defective, that there is something wrong with who I am as a being. That feeling of being defective is so painful that we are willing to do almost anything to avoid sinking into that abyss of pain within.

So we blame someone or something outside of ourselves to protect our self. A dysfunctional civilization which teaches us to look outside for our self worth, also teaches us to look outside for a villain.” – Healthy Romantic Relationships – part 3, Emotional Honesty Necessary

In that last line from this quote – “A dysfunctional civilization which teaches us to look outside for our self worth, also teaches us to look outside for a villain.” – lies the crux of the problem in so many romantic relationships. When we look to a romantic relationship to 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 / abandoning us. The type of love that we learned growing up in dysfunctional societies is toxic love. (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.

In a healthy interrelationship, we make a choice to love another being – and we give them some power over our feelings – we do not give them power over our self worth. (Codependence vs Interdependence – healthy relationship vs dysfunctional)

Sacred Spiral

and they lived Happily Ever After

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 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 learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes. By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work. We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.”

Consciousness raising is a process of enlarging the intellectual paradigm which we base our relationship with life upon. As I have stated previously in this series, our beliefs, attitudes, and definitions determine our expectations and perspectives – which in turn dictate our emotional relationships to everything and everyone in our environment. And when I say everything, I am not just talking about objects. Everything includes ideas, concepts, opinions, etc.

In order to have healthier romantic relationships it is very important to examine our concept of romantic love. If we do not have a healthy concept – realistic definitions and beliefs about – romantic love, then we do not have much chance of having a healthy relationship. If our concept of romance is based on the fairy tales and books, songs and movies, from our childhood, then we are set up to be disappointed in our romantic relationships.

Read the quotation above and substitute “love” everywhere it says “life” and you might better understand why you have felt like a victim in romantic relationships. We were set up to be victims in romance because we were taught that it is a magical paradise where we will have all of our needs met – and live “Happily ever after”. We were taught that getting the romance was the goal and that after that everything was smooth sailing.” – Healthy Romantic Relationships – part 6, Romantic Love as a Concept

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” 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.

Sacred Spiral

Codependency in Romantic Relationships for Men and Women

I have been using the pronoun we – in this discussion of being set up to feel like failures if we do not reach a destination where we live “happily ever after” – because both men and women are programmed with this unrealistic delusion in early childhood. It is women however, who traditionally were brainwashed to believe that their self worth is dependent upon reaching this destination. As I mentioned in part 1, traditionally women in this society were taught to be codependent upon their relationships with men – while men were taught that their self definition and worth comes from what they do. Additionally, men were taught to be shut down to their emotions.

“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. . . . . . .

When the role model of what a man is does not allow a man to cry or express fear; when the role model for what a woman is does not allow a woman to be angry or aggressive – that is emotional dishonesty.”

Both men and women had their relationships with their own emotions twisted and distorted by the messages and role modeling of a dysfunctional, emotionally dishonest, patriarchal culture. The traditional societal standards for appropriate female behavior included the belief that it was not appropriate (not “lady like”) for a woman to be angry or assertive – which not only makes it virtually impossible to set boundaries but also precludes real emotional intimacy. It is not possible to be emotionally honest and intimate in relationship to anyone with whom it is not okay to be angry. True emotional intimacy requires sharing all of our emotions. Someone who does not have permission to own anger is forced to use other methods to try to get their needs met, learns to manipulate in emotionally dishonest ways – crying when they are angry, or using sex manipulatively to gain power in a relationship, for instance.

And, though the traditional societal standards set men up to be “John Wayne” and women to be martyrs, this role was in reality reversed in many families due to the reactive extremes of codependency. In other words, some men who hated the abusive behaviors of their father / male role models would react to the other extreme, would suppress their own anger and become more passive and martyr like – and would then usually end up marrying a woman who was like their father. While a woman who could not stand the “doormat” role modeling of her mother, would become the angry abusive one in a relationship with a man who would be the doormat. Twisting things even further, in most cases, though the roles were reversed within the relationship inter-reaction, the couple would then try to look “normal” out in society – in other words, they would attempt to keep up appearances and be seen by others as a “normal” couple. Normal in this dysfunctional society meaning the man was the boss and the woman was his helpmate.

Men got the message from societal role models that it was not “manly” to be emotionally vulnerable. Someone who cannot be emotionally vulnerable is truly incapable of any level of emotional intimacy. Both men and women in this dysfunctional society were set up to feel like failures in romantic relationships, but it was women who were taught that their self worth depended upon success in the relationship. It is normally women who seek counseling because their self esteem is invested in the relationship. It is not possible to work out problems in a relationship without dealing with emotions – and a man is taught not to deal with emotions. A man focuses on the work that his self worth comes from and ignores problems in the relationship, and/or blames the woman for them. It is a double set up for women in this dysfunctional, emotionally dishonest society.

“We learn who we are as emotional beings from the role modeling of our parents and the adults around us. I have never had an emotionally honest male role model in my life. I am having to become my own role model for what emotional honesty looks like in a man.

Romance means nothing without emotional intimacy. “In – to – me – see” We can not share our self with another being unless we can see into our self. As long as I couldn’t be emotionally intimate with myself, I was incapable of being emotionally intimate with another human being.

It is absolutely vital to learn how to be emotionally honest with ourselves. It is impossible to have a Truly successful Romantic Relationship without emotional honesty. (Truly successful being used here to mean: in balance and harmony between the physical, emotional, mental, and Spiritual levels of being.) Sex can ultimately be an empty, barren animal coupling – involving physical pleasure but really having little to do with Love – without emotional & Spiritual connection.

This results in one of the major problem areas of many relationships. Without emotional intimacy many women get turned off to sex and withhold because their emotional needs aren’t being met – and men get angry because they don’t even have a clue of what women are asking for.

“Traditionally in this society women were taught to be codependent – that is take their self-definition and self-worth from their relationships – with men, while men have been taught to be codependent on their success/career/work. That has changed somewhat in the past twenty or thirty years – but is still part of the reason that women have more of a tendency to sell their souls for relationships than men do.” – Relationships & Valentines Day

It is a double set up for women in this society. First of all the men were taught that it was not manly to be emotional and that what makes them successful as a man is what they produce – and then women were taught that they needed to be successful in romantic relationships with emotionally unavailable men in order to be successful as a woman. What a set up!

It is not women’s fault. It is also not men’s fault. It is a set up.” – The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship – part 2

Men were programmed to be emotional cripples whose only acceptable emotional outlet was anger, and women were brainwashed to feel they had worth only in relationships to men. Truly a set up! Women were brain washed into defining themselves so completely in relationship to men that they give up their name for their husband’s name. (Of course, the name they give up was their fathers – a symbolic transfer of ownership.)

I will be addressing in more depth the traditional male and female roles in society – and the historical context in which our beliefs have been molded, including some recent changes brought about by the Feminist Movement – in a later chapter, but I wanted to make the point here of how our early childhood experiences and programming set us up to feel like failures. It is vital to start becoming conscious of this so that we can change the intellectual paradigm we are allowing to define ourselves and dictate our emotional relationship with life and love.

Sacred Spiral

right and wrong is a dysfunctional dance

Failure and success, winning and losing, right and wrong are part of the polarized belief system – the black and white thinking – that is the foundation, and cause, of codependency. Anyone who is thinking in terms of failure and success according to dysfunctional, delusional definitions is being codependent. They are exhibiting the programming – the brain washing – that results from growing up in a codependent culture.

When we believe in the deepest levels of our being, at the core of our programming, that we have to have a romantic relationship to be whole, to be happy and fulfilled in life, we are making that dream / delusion our higher power which determines if we have worth – which is a set up to feel like a failure. And because failure, being wrong, is considered shameful – a sign of unworthiness, of being defective – we end up putting a great deal of energy into blaming and/or denial. (Blaming is a manifestation of denial – and is only possible because of a polarized belief system.)

When our self esteem is dependent upon reaching “happily ever after,” we are set up to give away power over how we feel about our self to a delusion, a fairy tale. We look outside of ourselves and see other codependents – who were taught to keep up appearances and wear masks – who seem to have reached happily ever after. We feel like something is wrong with us because other people seem to be happy and successful and we feel like failures. We judge how we feel on the inside against how they look on the outside. And when those people that we put up on pedestals as having it made, prove to be human – get arrested, get a divorce, commit suicide, etc. – we are shocked (and sometimes secretly pleased) but we go right back to judging our self in comparison to someone else whose life looks better than ours feels.

As magical thinking children we were brainwashed / programmed to believe that love will magically transport us to happily-ever-after. We had that delusion reinforced by songs and books and movies. We are constantly being bombarded with advertising that uses our desire to be loved “happily ever after” to manipulate us into spending money on the magical ingredient that is missing – the right beer / car / clothes / makeup / medication / whatever – that will transform our lives.

It is a false belief, a dysfunctional concept, that sets us up to feel such desperate need for our dream to come true. When our feelings of self worth are dependent upon an illusion, we will put a great deal of energy into convincing our self that the dream has come true. Our investment in the fantasy, the dream, is what can make it so hard to let go of a relationship.

“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. We give power and energy to the mental construct of what we want the relationship to be and cannot even begin to see the situation and the other person clearly.

Far too often – because of the concept of toxic / addictive love we are taught in this society – it is the idea of the other person that we fall in love with, not the actual person. It is so important to us to cast someone in the role of Prince or Princess that we focus on who we want them to be – not on who they really are. In our relationship with our self, we attach so much importance to getting the relationship that we are dishonest with ourselves – and with the other person – in order to manifest the dream / concept of relationship that will fix us / make our life worthwhile. Then we end up feeling like a victim when the other person does not turn out to be the person we wanted.” – The True Nature of Love – part 4, Energetic Clarity 2

What makes relationship break ups so difficult in a codependent society is not the pain of the romance ending – although there is certainly a lot of pain and grief about such endings – it is the shame that our disease beats us up with for: being “failures;” or for being unworthy and unlovable; or for being so “stupid” as to make such a “wrong” choice. Very often we hang onto a relationship long after it is empty and dead because we feel that ending it will prove that we were “wrong” – or that something is wrong with us. This is especially true in instances where our family or friends warned us that the person wasn’t good for us – then we have a great deal of ego investment in proving them wrong. This kind of attempt to avoid “failure” – to avoid admitting “defeat” – has caused many a person to stay in relationships that were abusive long after they knew it was hopeless.

The subconscious programming is so strong that it overrides common sense, intellectual knowledge, and conscious awareness – and keeps us putting a great deal of energy into rationalizing and denying reality. It is that subconscious programming – which can not be substantially changed without becoming emotionally honest, which includes releasing the repressed grief energy from childhood – that makes us powerless to live life in any way except reacting to the extremes of codependency. It is powerlessness over that programming that has caused us to be our own worst enemies.

“Because of our broken hearts, our emotional wounds, and our scrambled minds, our subconscious programming, what the disease of Codependence causes us to do is abandon ourselves. It causes the abandonment of self, the abandonment of our own inner child – and that inner child is the gateway to our channel to the Higher Self.

The one who betrayed us and abandoned and abused us the most was ourselves. That is how the emotional defense system that is Codependence works.

The battle cry of Codependence is “I’ll show you – I’ll get me.””

It is a sad reality that many codependents spend their whole lives living in reaction to their childhood wounding. Whether we are trying to earn our parents love and respect by being what they wanted us to be, or going to the other extreme rebelling against them, we are living in reaction to childhood – we are not living our own lives. Many women, and men, have stayed in marriages – that they knew were a mistake on their wedding day – for 20 or 30 or 40 years because they were trying to prove their parents wrong, or trying to avoid the shame of “failing.”

As long as we are reacting to some arbitrary, absolute standard – a marriage that lasts is a success, one that ends is a failure; a man who is emotionally vulnerable is unmanly; a women who gets angry is not a lady; etc. – we are set up to live our lives in reaction. We are set up to feel like a failure, or to blame someone or something for how we live our lives. We are set up to feel like a victim. It is only by seeing our self and reality with more clarity that we can start to own our power to make choices instead of reacting. We become empowered to take responsibility for being a co-creator in our lives by owning our power to make choices. (Empowerment and Victimization – the power of choice)

Until we start becoming conscious of the power of this subconscious emotional programming, we are powerless to do anything in our life except react. We do not have the ability to respond – response ability – if our choices are limited to right and wrong according to some arbitrary, dysfunctional cultural beliefs.

“We must start recognizing our powerlessness over this disease of Codependence.

As long as we did not know we had a choice we did not have one.

If we never knew how to say “no,” then we never really said “yes.”

We were powerless to do anything any different than we did it. We were doing the best we knew how with the tools that we had. None of us had the power to write a different script for our lives.”

A woman who stays in a marriage because she does not believe she has a choice to leave it, is not making a choice to stay. We can only Truly commit to a course of action by owning that we have a choice in the matter. Staying because we “have to” / it is “wrong” to leave, is not a choice.

Sacred Spiral

Traditional Family Values – patriarchal supremacy

It is people like Dr. Harley who trumpet the sanctity of “traditional family values” – the sanctity of the institution of marriage. The traditional context for family values and marriage in this society is patriarchal supremacy. To speak of marriage without acknowledging the historical reality of the treatment of women in society is not just ignorant, it is downright stupid – in my opinion.

“For all of the so called progress of our modern societies, we still are far behind most aboriginal cultures in terms of respect for individual rights and dignity in some kind of balance with the good of the whole. (I am speaking here of tribal aboriginal societies – not urbanized ones.) Nowhere is this more evident than in terms of our relationship to our children.

Modern civilizations – both Eastern and Western – are no more than a generation or two removed from the belief that children were property. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the belief that women were property.” – Inner child healing – Why do it?

Marriage has not been a full partnership, a Sacred Union, for most women in this society. It has historically been a form of indentured servitude. It is probably an appropriate irony that marriage is referred to as an institution – since in modern day usage that term is most often used to refer to places where people are locked up.

The first paragraph in Dr. Harley’s article is a very revealing one.

“Those of us in the business of trying to save marriages struggle daily with cultural beliefs and practices that make our job difficult. The sudden surge of divorces in the 1970’s, that has made America the country with the highest divorce rate, has a great deal to do with changes in our basic beliefs. More to the point, it has to do with a major shift toward self-centeredness. Beliefs that encourage self-centeredness destroy marriage.”

The “sudden surge of divorces in the 1970’s” for those unconscious souls like Dr. Harley who are not able to understand historical context, coincides with the rise of the Feminist Movement. What Dr. Harley identifies as “self-centeredness” is actually about the liberation of women – women starting to own their right to make choices. What so changed the basic beliefs that this man holds dear, is the empowerment of women to have a self – to be an individual with self respect and rights as a person, instead of an extension of men. Women being so “self-centered” as to want to be liberated from the codependent bondage of being defined in relationship to men, has definitely challenged the traditional marriage of indentured servitude.

He is no different than any small minded bigot or racist. He bemoans the changes in society that led “those people” to forget their rightful place in the white male patriarchal system. In this case, “those people” are women. Women have forgotten their place as the servants of truly self-centered, immature, emotionally crippled little boys masquerading as men. Those same immature men who run the world and are always going to war to protect their right to keep raping the planet and trying to steal all the toys away from the other boys.

“History has been, and is being, made by immature, scared, angry, hurt individuals who were/are reacting to their childhood wounds and programming – reacting to the little child inside who feels unworthy and unlovable.” – Loving the Wounded Child Within

When someone in a relationship is hanging onto to it for dear life to try to avoid feeling like a shameful “failure” – what could possibly be worse scenario for them than to go to a counselor who believes that relationships that end are failures. The “expert” who is supposed to be helping a couple resolve problems in their relationship has an agenda because the expert’s self esteem is invested in saving the marriage. That type of situation is, too often in a dysfunctional society, a sad reality when the people who are supposed to be helpers in the healing process are still unconscious to their codependency.

Any therapist who describes divorce as a disaster and believes his/her job is to save marriages, is empowering black and white, dysfunctional, codependent thinking.

“Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr. has saved thousands of marriages from the pain of unresolved conflict and the disaster of divorce.”

Dr. Harley defines divorce as disaster, and believes that it is his purpose as a marriage counselor to save marriages. That is the belief system which he empowers. That is the perspective he will bring to any couple that comes to see him. It is impossible for him to see the relationship dynamics clearly as long as he has an agenda that he is projecting onto his clients. He is set up by his own beliefs to try to manipulate and shame people into staying in a marriage – no matter how dysfunctional that relationship may be – because it is what he bases his ego strength upon. Saving marriages is what he does – what he believes makes him successful, gives him worth.

What makes many divorce experiences feel like “disasters” is not the end of the relationship – it is the blaming that goes on to keep from feeling the shame of being a “failure.” It is the battle over who is “right” and who is “wrong” that causes so much emotional trauma. It is trying to identify – and punish – the villain, that makes divorce lawyers rich and emotionally wounds the children who get caught in the middle of this codependent dance of blame and shame.

On the day I was finishing this chapter 2, a man I had never met before came to our CoDA meeting. In the course of sharing, he started to talk about his parents. This man was probably around 50, and was going to visit his parents the next day. He started crying – struggling mightily to control his emotions, gulping shallow breaths and holding them as his body quivered. He choked out that he wished his parents hadn’t behaved so horribly in his childhood.

He recounted how his mother had said to him recently, “Oh, but our family wasn’t dysfunctional. Your father and I stayed together.” He cried as he said in a strangled voice, “That was a big part of the problem.”

Children are damaged just as much by parents who stay together in a dysfunctional marriage as children whose parents divorce. Sometimes it is even more damaging in the long run because the delusion that the family was successful is so strong that it makes it hard for the adult children to understand why they have lived their lives so dysfunctionally – after all, they came from a happy family. The happy family myth was the higher power the parents sacrificed themselves to maintain. Keeping up appearances to avoid shame, to avoid “failure.” Parents who stay together for “the children’s sake,” or to keep up appearances, are disasters as role models for what a romantic relationship looks like.

Any counselor or therapist who does not see a connection between the emotional wounds and intellectual programming of early childhood and problems manifesting in a marriage / romantic relationship, is not going to be able to help the people involved deal with the cause of the problems. Focusing on symptoms will not heal the cause.

For a marriage counselor to believe his purpose is saving marriages, without any consciousness of the cause of marital / relationship dysfunction, or of the historical context in which our beliefs about marriage have been programmed – is very diseased, codependent thinking, in my opinion.” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 2 Romantic Relationships & Toxic Love ~ Marriage & Divorce

Sacred Spiral

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

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

The first two chapter of this online book is available through my regular website: The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!

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

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

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

Chapter 2 of The Greatest Arena – Power Struggle ~ “A relationship is not a game of winners and losers”

The Dance

 ““One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization – black and white thinking.  Rigid extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten.  Codependence does not allow any gray area – only black and white extremes.

Life is not black and white.  Life involves the interplay of black and white.  In other words, the gray area is where life takes place.  A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine – recognizing that life is not black and white.”

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

I heard someone at a CoDA meeting this week talk about a truly revolutionary concept that their codependence counselor introduced into a session with her and her husband one day.  She and her husband were in a hot and heavy argument when the counselor interrupted to ask, “Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right.”  She said that it was a question that they had to consider for a while because being right was awful important to them both.

It is normal for relationships in this society to deteriorate into power struggles over who is right and who is wrong.  That is because we grew up in a dysfunctional society that taught that it was shameful to be wrong.  We got the message that our self-worth depends on not making mistakes, on being perfect – that it caused our parents great emotional pain (or they caused us great emotional or physical pain) when we made a mistake, when we were wrong.

Codependence is an emotional defense system that is set up to protect the wounded inner child within us from the shame of being exposed as unlovable and unworthy, as stupid and weak, as a loser and failure, as whatever it was that we got the message was the worst thing to be.  We were taught to evaluate whether we had worth in comparison to others.  Smarter than, prettier than, faster than, richer than, more successful than, thinner than, stronger than, etc., etc.  In a codependent society the only way to feel good about self is to look down on someone else.  So we learned to judge (just like our role models did) others in order to feel good about ourselves.  Being “right” was one of the most important ways to know that we had worth.

When a codependent feels attacked – which is any time it seems as if someone is judging us – it can be with a look or a tone of voice or just that someone doesn’t say something, let alone when someone actually says something to us that could be interpreted as meaning that we weren’t doing something right – the choices we are faced with are to blame them or blame ourselves.  Either they are right – in which case it proves that we are the stupid loser that the critical parent voice in our head tells us we are – or they are wrong in which case it is time to attack them and prove to them the error of their ways.

In most relationships where the people have been together for a few years they have already established entrenched battle lines around painful emotional scars where they push each others buttons.  All one person has to do is use a certain tone of voice or have a certain look on their face and the other person pulls out and loads the big guns.  One person is readying their answer in their head to what they “know” the other is going to say before the other even has a chance to say it.  The battle begins and neither one of them actually listens to what the other is saying.  They start pulling out their lists of past hurts to prove their point of how the other is “doing” horrible things to them.  The battle is on to see who is right and who is wrong.

And that is not even the right question.

The type of questions we need to be asking are: “What button just got pushed?”  “Why am I reacting so strongly to this?”  “How old do I feel right now?”  “In what way does what is happening feel like something that happened in my childhood”  “How does this remind me of the way my paents acted or treated me?”

We attract into our lives those people who will perfectly push our buttons for us.  Who fit our particular issues exactly.  When we are looking at life as a growth process then we can learn from these lessons.  If both people in a relationship are willing to look at what is underneath the dynamics that are happening – then some magical, wonderful intimacy can result.  As long as we are reacting unconsciously to the past, then we will blame and argue about who is right and who is wrong.

A relationship is a partnership, an alliance, not some game with winners and losers.  When the interaction in a relationship becomes a power struggle about who is right and who is wrong then there are no winners.” –  Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter  2 – Power Struggle

Cover of book on romantic relationships

Romantic Relationships – The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth

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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.

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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.

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