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"We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships because of the belief system we were taught in childhood and the messages we got from our society growing up."
"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."
(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney)
"As long as we believe that we have to have the other in our life to be happy, we are really just an addict trying to protect our supply - using another person as our drug of choice. That is not True Love - nor is it Loving."
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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
The Dance of Wounded Souls
|"The thing that is so important about the issue of Romantic Relationships
is to realize how we were set up to "fail" in romance - to really get it on
a gut level, so that we can forgive ourselves. Once we start letting
go of feeling responsible for something we were powerless over, letting go
of the false guilt and toxic shame about our "mistakes" and "failures" in
romance - then we can start to learn how to take healthy risks. Loving and losing is much better than never
loving at all."
Romantic Relationships - an index of web pages
Codependent Relationships Dynamics
Codependent Relationships Dynamics part 2 - Dysfunctional Definition of Love
One of the biggest problems with relationships in this society is that the context we approach them from is too small. We were taught that getting the relationship is the goal.
It starts in early childhood with Fairy Tales where the Prince and the Princess live happily-ever-after. It continues in movies and books where "boy meets girl" "boy loses girl" "boy gets girl back" - the music swells and the happy couple ride off into the sunset. The songs that say "I can't smile without you" "I can't live without you" "You are my everything" describe the type of love we learned about growing up - toxic love - an addiction with the other person as our drug of choice, as our Higher Power.
Any time we set another human being up to be our Higher Power we are going to experience failure in whatever we are trying to accomplish. We will end up feeling victimized by the other person or by our self - and even when we feel victimized by the other person we blame our self for the choices we made. We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships because of the belief system we were taught in childhood and the messages we got from our society growing up.
There is no goal to reach that will bring us to happily-ever after. We are not incomplete until we find our soul mate. We are not halves that cannot be whole without a relationship.
True Love is not a painful obsession. It is not taking a hostage or being a hostage. It is not all-consuming, isolating, or constricting. Believing we can't be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads us to accept deprivation and abuse, and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles. The type of love we learned about growing up is an addiction, a form of toxic love.
Here is a short list of the characteristics of Love vs. toxic love (compiled with the help of the work of Melody Beattie & Terence Gorski.)
1. Love - Development of self first priority.Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship - it is natural and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever - expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional. Expectations set us up to be a victim - and cause to abandon ourselves in search of our goal.
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. As long as we believe that we have to have the other in our life to be happy, we are really just an addict trying to protect our supply - using another person as our drug of choice. That is not True Love - nor is it Loving.
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(The original column "Toxic Love" by Robert Burney first appeared in the Information Press of San Luis Obispo California.)
This series of articles was originally published online on the Inner Child/Codependency Recovery page that I edit for Suite101.com Directory - although bits and pieces of the articles have been part of articles and web pages published previously.