The Heart Break of
Romantic Relationship - part 2
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."
This page includes quotes from Codepenence: The Dance of Wounded Souls and quotes
from other articles, columns, and web pages written
by Robert Burney. The internal links within this article open in a
separate browser window.
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
"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
When we are reacting out of old tapes based
on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings cannot
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
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."
All quotes in this color are from 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 out 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 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
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."
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."
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.
"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."
"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."
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."
"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."
"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
You can click on the link below to go to Part 3 of the The Heart
Break of Romantic Relationship.
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
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."
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
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
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
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
Q & A # 4
(Includes Sexuality, Metaphysical, and Reasons to take the Risk)