This is a question and answer page where Codependency therapist/Spiritual teacher/author of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, shares his experience, strength, and hope by posting the questions he receives by e-mail and the responses which he sends back.  This page covers Infidelity and a broken marriage, you are not alone, emotionally unavailable spouse, Passive-aggressive, obsession, intuition

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

Robert Burney is a codependence therapist, Spiritual teacher, and the author of the Joyously inspirational book

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

This is a question and answer page where Robert shares his experience, strength, and hope by posting (anonymously) the questions he receives by e-mail and the responses which he sends back.   If you have reached this page without coming through the web site, you might want to first explore the web sit by going to the Joy to You & Me Home Page so that you can understand the context within which these questions are asked and answered.

Infidelity and a Broken Marriage

I am sorry that you are going through such a painful time but it is wonderful that you have started your healing through counseling and learning about codependence.  In a few years, you will look back on this time as the start of a whole new life.  You asked about several issues: 

To make a long story short,  I have left my husband of 24 years because he had an affair, and he reacted to that by emotionally and verbally abusing me.

My guess would be that this is not the first time that he has emotionally and verbally abused you.  Most likely he has been both overtly and subtlely putting you down for a long time - since that is how codependent relationships work. 

Do you think my pre conceived idea that a husband should be faithful to his wife dysfunctional?

 No, your belief isn't dysfunctional.  You probably have a dysfunctional belief system around marriage in general since that is what is taught in this society - the "get married and live happily-ever-after fantasy," the "if I keep working at it hard enough, and keep being the best wife I can be (also applies to some husbands) then he will eventually change" fantasy.  Our whole concept of romantic relationships is really twisted and distorted in our dysfunctional culture - as I talk about on my page about Toxic Love and Romantic Relationships - which you have probably already read. 

A healthy relationship is an interdependent one, a partnership, an alliance - no healthy parntership can take place if trust is violated.  If one partner is lying and betraying the other there is no way that can be a healthy or functional relationship (it might be functional in a have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of way in the short run for the betrayer partner, as long as the other partner tries to pretend it is not happening - but in the long run it is not functional for either because any betrayal is ultimately a betrayal of Self - which will be paid for sometime, somehow.) 

In order to violate trust in an emotionally intimate relationship it is necessary for the betrayer to be emotionally dishonest with themselves, to have little self-respect or True self-esteem, have a capacity to lie, rationalize, and blame (that is redundant since rationalization and blame are lies - the betrayer always blames the person betrayed because the only way to live with themself is to convince themself that it is the other person's fault.) A person makes a very sad statement about themselves when they do such a thing - they are Truly a lost and wounded soul. 

You have every right to expect and demand honesty and Truth in a committed relationship - unfortunately the relationship was probably not ever very emotionally intimate or emotionally honest because it is not possible for any person to be emotionally honest (without which there cannot be True emotional intimacy) until they began healing their childhood wounds.  We grew up in emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional environments that were also Spiritually hostile.  We were taught and trained to be dishonest and manipulative in childhood.  (Overtly manipulating people is just one form of manipulation - trying to avoid conflict by  not have boundaries is also a form of manipulation.) 

Even though I have taken action to detatch and "find myself" am obsessing about their relationship and him constantly and can't seem to find effective ways to stop that very painful practice.

That is because what you are feeling is not just about what is happening now - this betrayal has ripped the scab off of a lifetime worth of betrayal, abandonment, abuse - going back to your childhood.  The wound that has been gouged is the core wound - the little girl who feels unworthy and unlovable.  What is important is to not judge and shame yourself - try to be as loving and nurturing to yourself as possible.  Your whole life has just been torn apart - of course it is going to be on your mind.I talk more about obsession below. 

Why do I keep "twisting the knife" myself? I am trying not to drink my pain away, I have been drinking too too much. But sometimes I just can't deal with it and I can't get rid of it. Any suggestions?

You have been hurt very deeply - it is important to accept that and accept that it is going to hurt for awhile- being in your head "twisting the knife" is actually a defense against being in your feelings - we obsess about things because we are so afraid of the hurt and sadness we are feeling.  It feels absolutely overwhelming - that is because as a little girl (that core wound) you were helpless and powerless - and now that this trauma has opened up your core wounds you will find yourself often reacting to life out of the part of you that feels helpless and powerless, unworthy and unlovable - try to remember that that is the little girl and have compassion for her/yourself.  As for the drinking - you might at some point want to try an AA meeting.  You may not be an alcoholic - but an alcoholic's reaction to pain is to drink - so it would be good if you kept an eye on yourself (from the detached, neutral witness that I talk about on the page Learning to Love our self - not from the shaming judge) in regard to the drinking.  Alcohol can keep us stuck in the suffering when what we need to do is walk through the pain. 

We have 4 children, 2 at home with him. I hope that we can have a friendly relationship in the future, as we have connections with the kids. I find myself wondering how to act.

 Well, it would probably be better not to interact with him or the kids when you have been drinking for right now.  It is also important that you have a counselor that you trust and some caring adult friends you can talk to about what is happening rather that talking to the kids or him about it.  Some Twelve Step meetings would be good - Co-Dependents 
Anonymous,  Alcoholics Anonymous (you don't have to be an alcoholic to go to "open" meetings), Al-Anon. etc.  There are also various other types of support groups - a womens group would probably be good.  I believe very strongly in the absolute value and importance of a Spiritual relationship with a Higher Power.  Any type of Spiritual support that helps you to feel better about your self is good (some religious beliefs do not support you in feeling good about self and those I do not consider Spiritual.) 

As for the future - You have just started on a journey that is going to take you to your Self - that is why this is good news and a new beginning for you.  As you mentioned, you have realized that the relationship wasn't healthy even before the betrayal - now is when you get to start learning about what healthy behavior is and that is going to teach you how to be more Loving with your self - the future is going to be a great (and scary) adventure - If the person who you will be a year from now could materialize in front of you right now and tell you what her life is like, you probably wouldn't even be able to understand what she was talking about. You are going places internally and Spiritually that you don't remember ever being before- it will be quite an interesting ride. 

Have compassion for your pain and get the help you need to see things more clearly - when it is most painful remind your self that "this too shall pass" but it is going to hurt a lot along the way so it is important for you to have patience with yourself.  Read the articles starting with Learning to Love your self and they should help. 
Let me know how you are doing and feel free to write and ask anything I can help you with. 

More from Infidility

I was moved by your description of my husband "the betrayer, deceiver, abuser" as "a lost and wounded soul". Even though I have been very angry about his actions, I know he is in pain and I hurt for him. It is interesting that he has signed several of his letters to me in the last few weeks "lost and alone" or "lost and confused". I'm not sure what "lost" signifies (and I don't know if he does either ) but he evidently feels it.

Lost is what we feel when our life has no meaning and purpose.  We were taught to try to find meaning and purpose in life from material things, from outer or external manifestations - and that is dysfunctional, it does not work.  Here are two quotes from my book about this: 
"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."


"As was stated earlier, Codependence could more accurately be called outer or external dependence.  Outside influences (people, places, and things; money, property, and prestige) or external manifestations (looks, talent, intelligence) can not fill the hole within.  They can distract us and make us feel better temporarily but they cannot address the core issue - they cannot fulfill us Spiritually.  They can give us ego-strength but they cannot give us self-worth.

True self-worth does not come from temporary conditions.  True self-worth comes from accessing the eternal Truth within, from remembering the state of Grace that is our True condition."

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney

Ultimately we feel lost because we feel disconnected from our Spiritual Source.  We have a hole in our soul and we keep trying to fill it with outside things because that is what we were taught defined us.  We grew up in emotionally dishonest societies that taught us that if we were good enough, did enough, did it “right,” we would get rewarded we would get to “happily ever after.” 

That is not the way it works. 

The way it has worked way too often for families in our dysfunctional cultures is like this: 

Two people got married.  He started working on his career which would allow him to support his family - which is what he has been taught defines him as a man.  She starts working on being a good wife and mother - which is what she has been taught defines her as a woman.  They were both abandoned, deprived, and abused in childhood in some way and are trying to make up for it by trying real hard to do life “right” to prove they are worthy individuals.  Neither one of them has the slightest notion of what emotional honesty is - so it is not only impossible for them to have emotional intimacy but they don’t even know what it is that is missing.  They work real hard on making their life work.  They do all the things a “good” family is supposed to do  they go on vacations, they buy a house, they pursue the “American Dream” (or English, or Australian, etc.)  They are so busy making a living and raising kids that they don’t even have time to stop and take inventory so that they can figure out what is missing.  It is just a kind of vague uneasiness, that is confusing and scary, that creeps in once in a while - but we keep it at bay by keeping busy or watching TV or working in the garden or golfing or whatever.  Sometimes we do it with drinking or food. 

The man finds himself baffled by the emotional needs of his wife and kids - and tries to control the situation the only way he knows how (the only way he has permission to) with anger.  The woman tries to shield her children from her husbands anger.  The man has arrived at mid life and his career is not really fulfilling him, he can’t satisfy or control his wife and kids, and he does not have the least bit of cultural permission, role modeling, or training in how to be introspective and try to understand his emotional wounds - so he does something to prove to himself that he is a man, he has an affair. 

The woman finds out.  Is devastated - “How could he do this to me?”  "I have given him the best years of my life.” etc.  She takes it very personally and thinks that she must have done something wrong.  Suddenly, her whole life is exploded - all the energy and hard work and sacrifice, all of the years she tried her best to be a good wife and mother.  The kids are grown, or almost, and all of sudden she is faced with not being a wife and with no kids at home - her self-definition and self-worth down the drain.  And she lives in a culture that says that women are not beautiful or desirable after a certain age. 


Devastatingly Traumatic

Pretty Normal in an Emotionally Dysfunctional Society

And the sad thing is that both the man and the woman swing between shaming and blaming themselves and shaming and blaming the other - when both were set up in their childhood.  It is not that they have done anything wrong - it is that they were set up to fail by an emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile civilization. Their whole adult life has been lived according to a false belief system.  Their patterns were set in childhood and what has happened in their adult life is a result of their childhood emotional wounds and mental programming.  The infidelity is just a symptom - it is not the cause.  What happened wasn’t personal because neither one of them really knows who he or she is - let alone who the other person is.  It is very sad.
This is of course a generalization - it probably applies to 20% of baby boomer families.  Probably another 35-40% stayed together in spite of the infidelity or without any infidelity - but also without any True emotional honesty or intimacy.  Sometimes it was the woman who cheated on the man.  There are also families where the mother was the rager and the father the protector - or where both raged, although usually there was alcoholism involved in those cases.  This 60 % were the best middle class families, the ones that really looked good in the community, the ones others looked at with envy because they obviously were successfully living the American Dream.  The other 40% of the families were the overtly dysfunctional ones - alcohol and physical abusive and incest.  The really poor families, or the really rich ones where the aberations of behavior can really be bizarre.  This 40% were the ones the 60% looked at to prove to themselves that they were doing it “right.”  (These figures have no known statistical basis, they were basically pulled out of thin air - but I am sure that they are someplace in the ballpark of what an honest statistical analysis would find.) 

And yes - I think that all of those families are/were dysfunctional because the civilized culture they lived in was/is dysfunctional and emotionally dishonest.  Of course some were much better than others - but the best of them were still trapped in the cultural dysfunction that was based on a false belief system about the meaning and purpose of life. 

This example refers to the baby boom generation because that was the last generation that really grew up in such a black and white / right and wrong world.  The previous generation, more couples stayed together because they had less permission to divorce.  The next generation after the baby boomers, had more permission to divorce so their patterns were different - although just as dysfunctional, in different ways (including that some women felt that they were not only supposed to be good mothers and wives but also have a successful career.) 

So you not alone.

We have all been lost, trying to fill the hole in our soul with whatever we could find that would work in the moment to help us keep from feeling the emotional pain - alcohol or work or family or sex or religion or whatever.  So, finally realizing that we feel lost can actually be the good news because we have to own that we feel lost before we can start to seek to find the Spiritual connection that we have been yearning for our whole life. 

 My counselor suggests that I avoid all contact with him, (he says "you can't save him, save yourself") but he will not stay away from me. My counselor suggests that whatever he does or says at this point will be manipulation to get me to do what he wants me to do.

The way the dynamic in a dysfunctional relationship works is on a come here - go away cycle.  When one person is available the other tends to pull away.  If the first person becomes unavailable the other comes back and pleads to be let back in.   When the first becomes available again then the other eventually starts pulling away again.  It happens because our relationship with self is not healed.  As long as I don’t love myself then there must be something wrong with someone who loves me - if someone doesn’t love me than I have to prove I am worthy by winning that person back.  On some level we are trying to earn the love of our unavailable parent to prove to ourselves that we are worthy and lovable. 

You do not have the power to make him love himself, you only have the power to change your relationship with your self - as your counselor says. 

I have to admit, that because he has seemed repentant, and has made some effort, I have allowed a little hope to creep back in to my heart. I don't want to be alone, and I sure don't have any thought of trying to find someone else. (In fact the thought is repulsive to me.) I don't know where to go from here. I don't want to mislead him.

No one can tell you what your path is - only you can decide that.  What is really important is to be honest with our self.  When someone who has been betrayed by a spouse says to me that they are going to take them back because they “love him/her,”  that is never the Truth in my experience - the real reason has to do with fear.  And making our decisions based on fear (of being alone, of being unable to support self, etc.) usually just gives more power to the fear - it is not bad or wrong or shameful, it just does not work to help us find some happiness and fulfillment in life.  Making our life choices based on fear is not a very Loving thing to do for ourselves and indicates a basic belief system/inner child programming that we are not worthy or deserving of anything better.  It is not a very kind thing to do for ourselves. 

I have suggested counseling for him continually, he has even gone a few times, and has been on Depakote for anger management, but he quit going and has run out of his med and argues that a "stranger" isn't going to help. He is drinking and using some drugs, and seems to be full of anger and frustration. My counselor suggests that the only way we can ever have a healthy relationship is if we both go THROUGH a therapy program. I have told my husband that I think that is true. My husband says that if two people love each other, they should be able to work things out on their own. He has said that he would do "whatever it takes" but he has not called to make an appt. and I am not going to nag him or do it for him.

Congratualtions on not doing it for him.  He has to become willing if there is any hope of change.  It sounds like he could use Alcoholics Anonymous.  Talking to someone who is under the influence of alcholol or drugs is a waste of time - you are just talking to the disease.

The problem with the “two people loving each other” theory is that no one can really know what Love is unless they Love and respect them self.   If we don’t love and respect our self then what we feel towards someone who says they love us is more like gratitude to them for loving “poor unlovable me.”  That is the kind of gratitude that usually turns into resentment and anger.

What do you think? Am I being gullible? Who should I believe? My sister agrees with my counselor. I am blowing whichever way the wind blows.

I think you are lost and confused and scared to death.  I think that whatever you decide about your husband is just dealing with the symptoms and not looking at the cause.  It might be Karmically necessary for you to go back with him and experience some more pain.   It is possible that you will need to go back with him in order to get to the point that you are in enough pain to start dealing with the cause - which is your childhood wounds.   It is possible that you really are an alcoholic and need to get back together with him to give yourself an excuse to drink.  It is possible that your path in life is to live the rest of your life with someone you don’t trust. 

There are many possibilities.  I think you have a lot of lost and confused and terrified feelings in front of you either way.  I know that you are Unconditionally Loved by The Great Spirit no matter what you do.  The question is not what is right or wrong - it is what is the most Loving thing to do for your self. 

I was abused as a child by my stepfather. I felt abandoned by my mother and alcoholic father. It is interesting that you seemed to know this. I have to admit that in the last 2 years, I have felt abandoned by everyone, even God himself. I can't tell you how many times I asked Him to help, to save, to intervene.

Everyone was abandoned, abused, and deprived in some way.  Everyone feels abandoned by God sometimes.  The core of our pain, the original wound that we are healing is feeling abandoned by our Creator.  We are healing the feeling that we were abandoned by God through healing the feelings of being abandoned by our parents.  It is very important in my view to own our right to feel angry at God.  (I talk about this on Question and Answer Page 4.) 

My belief is that my Higher Power always gives us what we need not what we want.  In my experience, though I often get angry at not getting what I want, as I look back over my life I can see that my Higher Power’s plan for me was always better than my plan  and that it was always leading me somewhere better. 

This very painful and traumatic event in your life can be the start of your Spiritual Awakening.  It is very possible that you could be looking back on this time in the years ahead and be grateful that you were set free from your old belief systems and led to start down a path that will bring you much more Joy and Peace than your former life was bringing you. 

Thanks again for your precious time. I appreciate the fact that you take the time to consider the big picture and everyone involved. I know that " tell the S.O.B. to hit the road!" is not thoughtful advice.

Everyone is wounded.  We all need to heal.  I hope that my web site and I can be of some help and comfort at this very painful and terrifying time.  Again, I am sorry you are having such a hard time - but please know that there is a God-Force that does Love you Unconditionally, and always will no matter what decisions you make. 

Taking the year off work in Canada wrote:

I am finding out that there is more sadness now because I am with myself, experiencing feelings & it is so painful, I feel really alone.  I tryed to explain to my husband that I really have alot of fear, anger & sadness & he says, "Don't think about it" -- think about building a new home, going back to work & maybe buying a sportscar---that now has triggered more sadness for I am alone in the journery of self-discovery & healing. ( Now day later & I have had some time with friends & sunshine & realize I am not alone.  My Higher Power & the Spirit is with me & many others in the recovery process--must have been the disease in me yesterday).

Because you don’t have your work to distract you and keep you busy you will feel the feelings even more.  You will also get in touch with the reality of the lack of emotional support or intimacy in your relationship. 

You are alone in many ways, and will feel alone a great deal of the time.  When the inner child/core wounds are up you will feel alone, powerless, hopeless, and helpless.  You are never alone Spiritually - although it sure feels like it much of the time.  That is one reason it is so important to use tools as Positive Affirmations to balance the emotional pain and fear with some Spiritual Truth.  The more you can learn to be a detached observer so that you can be your own Loving Parent - the more you will be able to intervene in your own internal process to remind yourself about friends and sunshine and such. 

I wonder if being with a spouse who is wounded & not interested in recovery & looking @ his own codependence is harmful to my health & ability to heal ?

You can do your healing no matter what.  The Universe will provide you with what you need (not necessarily with what you think you need) when it is time.  If you need to leave the relationship you will do that when it is time.  There is no need to rush any decisions now. 

Your healing will affect him because it will change the relationship dynamics.  Whether he decides to change eventually is something that falls in the More Will Be Revealed category.  I recommend that you just nurture yourself right now and as one twelve step program says “Uncover, discover, recover!”   focus on your healing and sorting out your issues.  The issues with him most likely have to do with your father   although they could also be about your mother.  Whatever is happening in the now is a reflection or symbol for something that happened then  it is happening now to help you get in touch with the issues that you need to heal.  Everything is unfolding perfectly.

Doing OK in Jersey although:

the other day someone referred to me as passive-agressive. exactly what is that?

Passive-aggressive behavior is the expression of anger indirectly.  This happens because we got the message one way or another in childhood that it was not OK to express anger.  Since anger is energy that can not be completely repressed it gets expressed in indirect ways.  This takes the form one way or another, overtly or subtly, of us acting out the Codependent battle cry “I’ll show you - I’ll get me.”  As a kid I was very angry at my mother for not protecting me or herself from my father - but it was not ok to be angry at my mother so I was passive-aggressive in various ways.  One was to not show any feelings.   By the time I was 7 or 8 I was being cool in a passive-aggressive response to her attempts to be close to me - I would not let her touch me, I would not show happiness if something good happened or pain if something bad happened.  I would just say “it’s ok” no matter how much it wasn’t.  I also “showed” her and my dad by not getting the type of grades as I was capable of getting in school.  I have spent much of my life sabotaging myself to get back at them. 

Passive-aggressive behavior can take the form of sarcasm, procrastination, chronic lateness, being a party pooper, constantly complaining, being negative, offering opinions and advice that is not asked for, being the martyr, slinging arrows (“whatever have you done to your hair”, “gained a little weight haven’t we?”), etc.  If we don’t know how to set boundaries or will go along with anything to avoid conflict, then we often will agree to doing things we don’t want to do - and as a result we will not be happy doing them and will get back at the other person somehow, someway because we are angry at them for “making” us do something we don’t want to do.  A classic codependent scenario is being asked where you want to eat and saying “oh, I don’t care, wherever you want to” and then being angry because they take us somewhere we don’t like.  We think they should be able to read our mind and know we don’t want to do whatever.  Typically, in relationships, one partner will ask the other to do something and the person who can’t say “I don’t want to do that”  will agree to do it and then not do it.  This will result in nagging and scolding which will cause more anger and passive-aggressive behavior. 

The way to stop being passive-aggressive is to start being honest (first of all with ourselves), having boundaries (the more we get in touch with our inner children the more we can have boundaries with the angry ones that are causing us to be passive-aggressive), saying no when we don’t want to do something.  It is easier said than done.  On one level what we are doing is recreating our childhood dynamics of being criticized by our parents.  It is because at our core we feel unworthy and unlovable that we have relationships - romantic, friendship, work - where we will be criticized and given the message that we are bad or wrong.  Because we don’t Love our self we need to manifest people outside of ourselves that will be our critical parent - then we can resent them, feel victimized, and be passive-aggressive.  They are in fact just a reflection of how we treat ourselves internally.  The more we can learn to defend ourselves internally from the critical parent voice the more we will find that we don’t want critical people in our lives.

My new friend in England wrote:

   how would you define obsession, a thing that is hard to nail down.

 I think that obsession is something we learned to do in our mind to keep from feeling our feelings - being in our 
head was one of our first defense and longest established - so to me it is a sign that some feelings are going on 
that our defense system is trying to avoid.  It is not wrong or bad but can be dysfunctional because we usually 
shame ourselves for doing it.  I believe that obsession is driven by shame and as long as we are shaming 
ourselves for doing it we keep doing it.  I remember hearing in a 12 step meeting one time when someone said 
they had realized that they couldn't stop obsessing by obsessing about the obsession.  That is the way the disease 
works - it doubles back on us and causes us to judge ourselves for judging ourselves, etc. 

The best thing I have found for obsession is to give myself permission to do it - say, tell myself that I can obsess 
completely for the next hour or whatever and then I will take a walk or something.   Without the shame to feed it 
the obsession starts losing much of it's power. 

Another aspect of obsession sometimes is that we are obsessing about the ourcome of some event in the future - in 
that case it helps to remind myself that today is my business and the future is in my Higher Power's hands - in 
other words let go and let God - maybe say a little prayer or something and them really pull myself into the now,
take a deep breath, feel myself in my body, look around to see what is around me, ask myself what the next thing 
for me to do is - maybe it is taking a walk or doing the dishes or writing in my journal - whatever.  For me, when 
I obsess about the future it is usually in dramatic terms - a really big deal - so I need to let go of the drama and do 
whatever mundane little thing is in front of me. 

And one of the reasons I obsess about the future is my fear of the unknown - which is normal and human - and it 
is my inner children who are the most afraid - so I do some affirmations to remind myself of the Spiritual Truth - 
and then talk to my inner children and tell them it is going to work our - I might even give them some examples of 
how it worked our in the past. 

Bringing myself into the now is the main thing for me - taking some deep breaths - check out what I am feeling - 
looking around me for some sign of what the next thing to do might be. I remind myself that if I don't know 
today then I am not supposed to know and that when it is time to know - I will. 

    do you find your intuition picks up untruths instinctively regardless of words and logical thought process? that hmm something isn't right here feeling?

Yes. I feel truth or un truth - feel that something is the right thing to do, or not right - and it is the feeling that is 
what I need to follow - my head/disease will always jump in with all sorts of messages to the contrary because it 
doesn't want me to trust. 

The question I ask myself is how does it feel - I don't spend to much time thinking about what is right or wrong 
anymore because I know my feelings will tell me what I need to know when it is time. 

   Inside intuition tells me he is not being truthful on many levels, I feel he needs me more than he knows, and that I should stay in the background and keep in touch, even though it's onesided, is that wrong?

There is not right or wrong - it is just another wonderful (f_ _king) opportunity for growth.  A chance to practice 
faith and acceptance and patience. (I personally get very tired of practicing these things but my Higher Power 
seems to think I need to keep practicing.)   There is no way to know what Karma is involved - so there is no way to know what the path is.  It will unfold as it unfolds. 

   I am as you can see confused, how can I clarify this issue for myself?

Sound like there might be some inner children involved - maybe a little girl who believes in fairy tales, maybe the 
teenage maiden who dreams of her man - doesn't mean there is not some deep Karmic Cosmic connection, just 
different levels - but the desperate neediness that comes over you and desire for instant gratification sounds like 
inner child stuff to me.  You might want to do some writing and take a little survey of inner parts to see who is 
sending what messages. 

   I know I can only leave the future to my higher power, it's dealing with today, and the feelings that are so intense and overpowering almost.

I know - feels like it will consume you - but this too will pass, no matter how much it feels like it will never 
change.  It is so hard - yet, at the same time, it is wonderful to be capable of feeling so strongly - sometimes it 
helps me just to try to be grateful that I am having feelings at all. (No matter how crazy making.) 

Like I said there are things gong on on different levels and it can be hard to tell if it is our intuition or our wounds 
talking - but since it's not about right or wrong it really doesn't matter.  It seems like I have shared with you the 
thing I tell people when they are agonizing over what to do - but maybe not.  I tell people that when it is really 
gray  - like "is this codependent or caring" or "is this setting boundaries or being controlling" etc. is the time to 
use the short version of the Serenity Prayer, which is "Fuck it" - just go ahead and do whatever you need to do 
and find out what it is all about later. 

Good luck - I hope you get some clarity and peace. (I know you will - I just mean relatively soon!) 

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Except where quotes are cited this material is copyright by Robert Burney 1998.  Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is Copyright 1995.