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Healthy Romantic Relationships - Interdependent, not codependent

"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."
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"A healthy romantic relationship is based on interdependence.  Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics.   Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. . . .
. . . 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."
***
"It is impossible to Love without giving away some power.  When we choose to Love someone (or thing - a pet, a car, anything) we are giving them the power to make us happy - we cannot do that without also giving them the power to hurt us or cause us to feel angry or scared."
On this page is the first in a series of articles by Spiritual teacher/codependency therapist focused on healthy romantic relationship behavior.
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The Web Site of Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist, author, Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises

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Robert is the author of the Joyously inspirational book

Codependence: 
The Dance of Wounded Souls
Joyously inspirational Spiritual book - Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
 
 
 

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Announcing
Joy to You & Me Enterprises is now offering a series of Intensive Training Days with Spiritual Teacher, inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney.  Learn his innovative Spiritual Integration Formula for Inner Healing.  To find out the locations and dates for upcoming appearances go to Day of Intensive Training.

This series of articles was originally published online on the Inner Child/Codependency Recovery page that Robert edits for Suite101.com Directory (link at the bottom of page.)  Some of the articles in this series are expanded and updated versions of columns published previously.

 Healthy Romantic Relationships - Interdependent, not codependent

"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."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney


One of the first steps to opening up to the possibility of have a healthy relationship is to start changing the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs we learned in childhood.  Our attitudes, beliefs, and definitions set up our expectations and perspectives which in turn dictate our emotional relationships.  In order to change our relationship patterns we need to change the attitudes and beliefs so that we will stop expecting the magic of fairy tales in our romantic relationships. 

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.

A healthy romantic relationship is based on interdependence.  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. 

If my self-esteem is based on people, places, and things; money, property, and prestige; looks, talent, intelligence; then I am set up to be a victim.  People will not always do what I want them too; property can be destroyed by an earthquake or flood or fire; money can disappear in a stock market crash or bad investment; looks change as I get older.  Everything changes.  All outside or external conditions are temporary.

That is why it is so important to get in touch with our Spiritual connection.  To start realizing that we have worth because we are children of God.  That we are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the God Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit.  We are Spiritual beings having a human experience - our worth as beings is not dependent upon any outer or external condition.  We are Unconditionally Loved and we always have been.

The more we can start owning the Truth of who we really are and integrating it into our relationship with ourselves, the more we can enjoy this human experience that we are having.  Then we can start learning how to be interdependent - how to give power away in conscious, healthy ways - because our self-worth is no longer dependent on outside sources.

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.

Anytime we care about somebody or something we give away some power over our feelings.  It is impossible to Love without giving away some power.  When we choose to Love someone (or thing - a pet, a car, anything) we are giving them the power to make us happy - we cannot do that without also giving them the power to hurt us or cause us to feel angry or scared.

In order to live we need to be interdependent.  We cannot participate in life without giving away some power over our feelings and our welfare.  I am not talking here just about people.  If we put money in a bank we are giving some power over our feelings and welfare to that bank.  If we have a car we have a dependence on it and will have feelings if it something happens to it.  If we live in society we have to be interdependent to some extent and give some power away.  The key is to be conscious in our choices and own responsibility for the consequences. 

The way to healthy interdependence is to be able to see things clearly - to see people, situations, life dynamics and most of all ourselves clearly.  If we are not working on healing our childhood wounds and changing our childhood programming then we cannot begin to see ourselves clearly let alone anything else in life. 

The disease of Codependence causes us to keep repeating patterns that are familiar.  So we pick untrustworthy people to trust, undependable people to depend on, unavailable people to love. By healing our emotional wounds and changing our intellectual programming we can start to practice discernment in our choices so that we can change our patterns and learn to trust ourselves.

As we develop healthy self-esteem based on knowing that the Force is with us and Loves us, then we can consciously take the risk of Loving, of being interdependent, without buying into the belief that the behavior of others determines our self-worth.  We will have feelings - we will get hurt, we will be scared, we will get angry - because those feelings are an unavoidable part of life. Feelings are a part of the human experience that we came here to learn about - they cannot be avoided.  And trying to avoid them only causes us to miss out on the Joy and Love and happiness that can also be a part of the human experience.

By changing our intellectual paradigm - our attitudes, beliefs, and definitions - we can stop expecting life to be something it is not.  We can stop expecting relationships to be magic just because falling in love feels magical.  We can start having a realistic view of relationships which will allow us to be responsible enough to do the work it takes to work through issues, to keep communication happening, to form a healthy interdependent partnership with another human being.  It is in taking responsibility and working through issues that the True magic of emotional intimacy can flower.  The sacred magic that is Love is worth the effort.

Two people consciously working together can be a very beautiful experience. 

Go to Healthy Romantic Relationships - part 2 - Communication is Key

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Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is copyright 1995.  Material on Joy2MeU web site (except where otherwise noted) is copyright 1996 thru 2013 by Robert Burney  PO Box 235401 Encinitas CA 92023.

The original version of this column appeared in the Information Press of San Luis Obispo California in 1997 - and appears on my web site as Codependence vs Interdependence-healthy relationship vs dysfunctional.  This is an expanded version of that column was published on September 7, 1999 on the Inner Child/Codependency Recovery page that I edit for Suite101.com Directory.