The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship - part 2

"If you cannot be angry at someone you cannot be emotionally intimate with that person."

*

"Overreacting to our patterns is just as dysfunctional as reacting to the wounds that caused the patterns.  If we discover a pattern - say, that we leave relationships before we can be left - and we overreact and decide to stick it out in the next relationship no matter what, that can lead to us accepting a lot of abuse in the name of recovery. If we are in reaction and trying to figure out what is right and wrong - we are giving power to the disease."

*

"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."


Welcome to a page of Joy to You and Me

The Web Site of Robert Burney and Joy to You and Me Enterprises.

Robert is a Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist & the author of the Joyously Inspirational book:

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship - part 2
(This page is a continuation page of The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship.) 
We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships in the same way that we are set up to fail in life - by being taught false beliefs about who we are and why we are here in human body, false beliefs about the meaning and purpose of this dance of life.

As was stated on the first page:
"The issue of how we are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships is so complex - multi-leveled, multi-faceted, and multi-dimensional - that instead of writing an individual, fully contained article here I am going to make this Web Page a collage of different facets of this issue - individual vignettes with quotes from my books and articles.  I am going to use some quotes from my Question and Answer pages also - the Q & A # at the end of the quote will be a link to the applicable page - any articles or columns cited will also be linked."

The Facets on this page are:
Facet # 3 - Shame Core - Inner Child Healing
Facet # 4 - Emotional Dishonesty - Emotional Intimacy

Facet # 3 -  Shame Core - Inner Child Healing

“The dance that we learn as children - the repression and distortion of our emotional process in reaction to the attitudes and behavior patterns we adopt to survive in an emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment - is the dance we keep dancing as adults.

We are driven by repressed emotional energy.  We live life in reaction to childhood emotional wounds.  We keep trying to get the healthy attention and affection, the healthy love and nurturing, the being-enhancing validation and respect and affirmation, that we did not get as children.

This dysfunctional dance is Codependence.  It is Adult Child Syndrome.  It is the tune that humans have been dancing to for thousands of years.  Vicious, self-perpetuating cycles of self-destructive behavior.”

*

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

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

*

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

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

When we are reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing in the moment.

In order to start be-ing in the moment in a healthy, age-appropriate way it is necessary to heal our “inner child.”  The inner child we need to heal is actually our “inner children” who have been running our lives because we have been unconsciously reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes, the old tapes, of our childhoods.”
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence is a dis-ease of reaction.  As long as we are in reaction we are being a victim.  We are not owning our power if we are reacting.  Many of us have reacted to being hurt in Romantic Relationships by going to the other extreme - overreacting to the point where we spent many years out of relationship.  Then we try a relationship again and have another disaster because we are reacting to our childhood programming and we again react to our reaction by overreacting to the other extreme.  In Recovery we are working on getting the pendulum swing smaller and smaller - finding the middle ground, the place of balance.

Overreacting to our patterns is just as dysfunctional as reacting to the wounds that caused the patterns.  If we discover a pattern - say, that we leave relationships before we can be left - and we overreact and decide to stick it out in the next relationship no matter what, that can lead to us accepting a lot of abuse in the name of recovery. If we are in reaction and trying to figure out what is right and wrong - we are giving power to the disease.

There are no mistakes only lessons - which are painful but not that painful if we are not judging and shaming ourselves.  What makes lessons so painful is the shame the disease lays on us - in other words - the disease creates all of this fear about getting hurt until we are terrified of being hurt - but what is so painful about being hurt is the shame that the disease beats us up with after we get hurt.

The hurt itself passes - the shame and judgment the disease abuses us with is what is most painful. 

We are programmed to believe that making a "mistake" is horribly shameful.  We are programmed to believe that if we do not find “Happily-ever-after” in a Romantic Relationship then we have made a mistake, or something is wrong with us.

When a relationship doesn’t work our we torture ourselves with recriminations about what we did “wrong” or what is “wrong” with us.  We rip ourselves for the shame of “failing.”

"Our intuition/gut/heart tells us the Truth - it's our head that screws things up. I understand perfectly why my friend is in reaction the way she is - I am just very sad that it means she can't be in my life.  She and I both come from a place of having so much terror of intimacy that we were relationship phobic - sometimes what is necessary for someone with a relationship phobia is to jump right in, that may be the only way past the fear.

I am happy to say that I don't have a relationship phobia anymore - I welcome another chance to explore a relationship now that I know that my worst fear can come true and it can make me stronger and better and happier.  The reason for that is that I did not give power to the shame - what a miracle!  What a gift!  I am so grateful." 

An Adventure in Romance by Robert Burney

"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.

We are powerless out of human ego-self to get out of this quagmire.  That is the bad news.  It is also the good news.

Once you let go enough times, once you becoming willing to go to any length, to do whatever it takes, once you become willing to make healing the number one priority in your life, then you will be guided all the way.  You will get the tools you need when you need them.  You will get the help you need when you need it.  You will have Loving, supportive people come into your life when you need them.  You will start making rapid, discernible progress in your healing transformation.

On the other side of powerlessness is all the power in the Universe.  On the other side of powerlessness is freedom, happiness, and peace within.  On the other side of powerlessness is Joy and Love!

The answer is to stop fighting it, to surrender to the Spiritual Forces at work.  Surrender to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you do deserve to be happy and Loved."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Codependence Recovery is not self-help.  We are being guided.  The Force is with us! 

Romantic Relationships are part of the curriculum in this school of Spiritual Evolution - not the place we find happily ever after.  Life is a journey - it is not about reaching a destination.

"As I said, the goal of healing is not to become perfect, it is not to “get healed.”  Healing is a process, not a destination - we are not going to arrive at a place in this lifetime where we are completely healed.

The goal here is to make life an easier and more enjoyable experience while we are healing.  The goal is to LIVE.   To be able to feel happy, Joyous, and free in the moment, the majority of the time.

To get to a place where we are free to be happy in the moment most of the time, we need to change our perspectives enough to start recognizing Truth when we see or hear it.  And the Truth is that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience that is unfolding perfectly and always has been, there are no accidents, coincidences, or mistakes - so there is no blame to be assessed.

The goal here is to be and enjoy!  We can’t do that if we are judging and shaming ourselves.  We can’t do that if we are blaming ourselves or others.

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.

We need to grieve for the past.  For the ways in which we abandoned and abused ourselves.  For the ways we deprived ourselves.  We need to own that sadness.  But we also need to stop blaming ourselves for it.  It was not our fault!

We did not have the power to do it any differently.

*

“It is when we start understanding the cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were, and the effect it had on the adult we became, that we can Truly start to forgive ourselves.  It is only when we start understanding on an emotional level, on a gut level, that we were powerless to do anything any differently than we did that we can Truly start to Love ourselves.

The hardest thing for any of us to do is to have compassion for ourselves.  As children we felt responsible for the things that happened to us.  We blamed ourselves for the things that were done to us and for the deprivations we suffered.  There is nothing more powerful in this transformational process than being able to go back to that child who still exists within us and say, “It wasn’t your fault.  You didn’t do anything wrong, you were just a little kid.”

*
“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are.   And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

It was not our fault.  We were set up to fail in Romantic Relationships.  It is very important to forgive ourselves - not just intellectually, but to actually go back to the wounded parts of our self and change our relationship with our self.  We cannot Love someone else in a healthy way until we learn to Love ourselves - and we cannot love our self without owning all of the parts of us.

"Unfortunately, in sharing this information I am forced to use language that is polarized - that is black and white.

When I say that you cannot Truly Love others unless you Love yourself - that does not mean that you have to completely Love yourself first before you can start to Love others.  The way the process works is that every time we learn to Love and accept ourselves a little tiny bit more, we also gain the capacity to Love and accept others a little tiny bit more."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

We can access our Higher Self to be a Loving Parent to the wounded parts of our self.   That Loving Adult within us can set a boundary with the Critical Parent to stop the shame and judgment and can then Lovingly set boundaries with whatever part of us is reacting so that we can find some balance - not overreact or under react out of out fear of overreacting.

We need to establish Loving on-going relationships with the wounded parts of us in order to be able to stop reacting out of our wounds and our shame.  The process of learning how to set internal boundaries is the single most powerful method I have ever seen or heard of for Learning to Love our self.  Once we start Loving, honoring, and respecting our self then we have a chance to be available in a healthy way for a Loving Romantic Relationship.

"The dysfunctional dance of Codependence is caused by being at war with ourselves - being at war within. 

We are at war with ourselves because we are judging and shaming ourselves for being human.  We are at war with ourselves because we are carrying around suppressed grief energy that we are terrified of feeling.  We are at war within because we are “damming” our own emotional process - because we were forced to become emotionally dishonest as children and had to learn ways to block and distort our emotional energy. 

We cannot learn to Love ourselves and be at peace within until we stop judging and shaming ourselves for being human and stop fighting our own emotional process, until we stop waging war on ourselves."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
 "The message that you shouldn’t do it because it will cause conflict with your spouse is probably not for your Highest good.  If taking care of your self causes conflict with your spouse then you may need to take another look at the relationship - either by  yourself or hopefully with him to see if the conflict can be mediated  (setting boundaries in a relationship is about 95% negotiation - boundaries for the most part aren’t rigid -  some are, like it is not ok to hit me or call me certain names or cheat on me, etc. - but most boundaries are a matter of negotiation, which of course involves communication.)  As I have mentioned communication is really difficult.  Because we all have a little child inside of us who learned that it is shameful to be wrong or make a mistake - too often in relationships the attempts at communication end up as a power struggle between who is right and who is wrong.  One person takes the others feedback as an attack and then attacks back.   Again the wrong question is being asked - 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."
Q & A # 5

Facet # 4 - Emotional Dishonesty - Emotional Intimacy

“We are set up to be emotionally dysfunctional by our role models, both parental and societal.  We are taught to repress and distort our emotional process.  We are trained to be emotionally dishonest when we are children.”

*

“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. 

The point that I am making is that our understanding of Codependence has evolved to realizing that this is not just about some dysfunctional families - our very role models, our prototypes, are dysfunctional. 

Our traditional cultural concepts of what a man is, of what a woman is, are twisted, distorted, almost comically bloated stereotypes of what masculine and feminine really are.  A vital part of this healing process is finding some balance in our relationship with the masculine and feminine energy within us, and achieving some balance in our relationships with the masculine and feminine energy all around us.  We cannot do that if we have twisted, distorted beliefs about the nature of masculine and feminine.”
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
 "The first long term relationship (for me 2 years was very long term because of my particular terror of intimacy) I got into in recovery I realized that for me to set boundaries or get angry in an intimate relationship felt to my inner child like I was being a perpetrator - which was the thing (being like my father) that I had hated so much and vowed I would never be - so I had to learn to let my inner child know that it was ok to say no and have boundaries in an intimate relationship and that it didn't mean I was being a perpetrator." 
Q & A # 4
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 by Robert Burney


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.

"I also want to add here that one of the damaging concepts that I was taught as a child is that you can not be angry at someone you love.  My mother once in my recovery said to me directly "I can't be angry at you, I love you." (That she has lived for 50 years with a man whose only emotion is anger, who raged all the time, makes a very sad statement about her lack of self worth.)

If you cannot be angry at someone you cannot be emotionally intimate with that person.

Any friend who I cannot get angry at (or vise versa) and then at some later point communicate with and work through whatever issue is up - is not really a friend.  It was very important for me to learn how to fight in a romantic intimate relationship (I have some ages of my inner child that thought that if I stood up for my self she would go away.)  It is important to learn to fight "fair" (that is, not say those really hurtful things that can't be taken back.  I found that I could stand up for myself and fight fair even when the other person did not fight fair.) But unless we can express our anger -  as well as our hurt, fear, and sadness - to another person we can not be emotionally intimate with them.

It can be wonderfully magical in a relationship when both people are in recovery working on healing their childhood wounds.  An argument over one of the stupid, seemingly meaningless things that couples often argue about can turn into a mutual grieving session - talk about powerful intimacy. 

Example: A fight starts, angry words are exchanged, then (sometimes at the time one of the people can say “How old are your feeling right now?” or  sometimes after time has passed, sometimes after a “time out” that is structured into the relationship) one of the individuals says “ I feel about 7.” “What happened when you were 7?” etc. - and you can end up figuring out that the tone of voice one person used pushed a button about how Mom used to talk to them in a way that made them feel stupid - and when the first person reacted to that it pushed a button for the other person about how Dad used to do whatever.  And you both get to cry for the ways you were abused or discounted or invalidated.

It is very important to remember that the Universe works on the principle of cause and effect - our reactions do not come our of the blue, they have a cause.  What we are trying to learn to do is stop reacting to the now out of the past.  We can do that by tracking down the cause instead of getting all tied up in the symptom (whatever started the argument.)  It is dysfunctional to react to the now out of the past because our reaction is only a little bit about what is happening now."

Q & A # 4

Go to The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship part 3

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This material is copyright 1999 by Robert Burney.  Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls is Copyright 1995.  Quotations from columns, articles, & web pages are Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999  by Robert Burney  PO Box 977 Cambria CA 93428