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Codependence:
The Dance of Wounded Souls
Joyously inspirational Spiritual book - Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
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Assignments for Jump Starting Codependency Recovery
By Robert Burney
"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.

As was stated earlier, our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life.  This is true for all types of relationships.  Our perspective of God dictates our relationship with God.  Our perspective of what a man or a woman is, dictates our relationship with ourselves as men or women, and with other men and women.  Our perspective of our emotions dictates our relationship with our own emotional process.

Changing our perspectives is absolutely vital to the growth process.  And the process of enlarging our perspective can sometimes convert that which seems to be very complex and totally beyond our understanding into something that is simple and understandable." -

(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. There is nothing wrong with who we are - it is our relationship with self that got messed up in childhood.  In Codependency recovery we are changing our relationships with self, life, and other people, from ones that are dysfunctional to ones that work better to help us learn:  to become empowered to be positive co-creators in our life instead of negative ones;   to stop being at war with ourselves and find some inner peace;   to start relaxing and enjoying life as an adventurous journey instead of an endurance contest that we might fail;  and to have the freedom to stop allowing our lives to be defined and dictated by the emotional wounds and subconscious intellectual programming from our childhood. 

In order to start changing our relationship with ourselves, we need to start focusing some conscious attention on our relationship with self - and start taking some action to change our perspective of our self.

Earlier this year, I was involved in a relationship with a woman who had done some conventional therapy over the years and had attended some Al-Anon meetings years before as the result of being married to an alcoholic - but who had not directly focused on inner child healing work / codependency recovery, or specifically been led to make spirituality a primary focus in her life.  She resonated strongly with my writing - which was necessary for us to get together in the first place - but had not focused conscious attention on these areas which are integral to codependency recovery.

In an attempt to help her jump start her codependency recovery, I made up some "assignments" for her in the hopes it would help her to start experiencing what a relief it was to start making Spirituality a priority in her life - and to start focusing on the core issues instead of being caught up in reacting out of her codependent defenses and judging herself for those reactions.

These two areas are what I refer to as the two major dimensions that need to be addressed in codependency recovery, that is:  recognizing that we have a dysfunctional relationship with self which was caused by our childhood experiences - and that we have the power to change that relationship into one that works better;  and starting to see our life experience as a Spiritual growth process that is unfolding perfectly.

"(I need to make the point here that Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on different levels. In regard to our relationship with ourselves this involves two major dimensions: the horizontal and the vertical. In this context the horizontal is about being human and relating to other humans and our environment. The vertical is Spiritual, about our relationship to a Higher Power, to the Universal Source. If we cannot conceive of a God/Goddess Force that loves us then it makes it virtually impossible to be loving to ourselves. So a Spiritual Awakening is absolutely vital to the process in my opinion. Changing our relationship with ourselves on the horizontal level is both a necessary element in, and possible because we are working on, integrating Spiritual Truth into our inner process.)" - Learning to Love our self
The "assignments" that I wrote up for her did prove to be very helpful in enabling her to make great progress in her codependency recovery.  I later shared those "assignments" with several other people who found them very helpful.  Those "assignments" are my reason for adding this page to my site at the end of July 2004.  I believe that they will be valuable in helping those of you who want to jump start your codependency recovery / inner child healing / Spiritual integration process.  The two parts of this page that were the original "assignments" I wrote up for her, are ones focused on Positive Affirmations and inner child healing work.

The positive affirmations are a major tool in recovery and invaluable in helping individuals to start combating the toxic shame at the core of their relationship with self - start opening up to Love through changing the dysfunctional programming adapted by the little child who felt defective and unlovable because his/her parents were wounded and didn't know how to love themselves.  The positive affirmations are vital in helping us to start getting more clearly connected to our Spiritual Self - as we learn to stop allowing our damaged and dysfunctionally programmed ego self run our lives.

"The Twelve Step Recovery process is so successful because it provides a formula for integrating different levels.  It is by recognizing that we are powerless to control our life experiences out of ego-self that we can access the power out of True Self, Spiritual Self.  By surrendering the illusion of ego control we can reconnect with our Higher Selves.  Selfishness out of ego-self is destroying the planet.  Selfishness out of Spiritual Self is what will save the planet.

It is because there is more than one level of reality that life is paradoxical in nature.  What is True and positive on one level - selfishness out of Spiritual Self, can be negative on another level - selfishness out of ego-self.  What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly."

It is vital to start being willing to focus on the inner child work because the core of our wounding - the foundation for our relationship with self - was laid in early childhood.  Our adult patterns are symptoms / effects our wounding - the cause of our dysfunctional relationships with self, life, and other people goes back to our childhood.  We have been living our life in reaction to the defense system that resulted from our ego being conditioned to relate to life from shame, fear, and scarcity.

"Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child.  Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met - our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs.  Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside.  Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves."

These two areas of healing require the willingness to take some direct action - by actually doing the positive affirmations and being willing to start focusing some conscious attention on our childhood wounding.  This involves not only thinking about, but writing and talking about our childhood experiences.  Part of owning and healing our self is to start taking some action to focus some conscious attention to the inner child places (emotional wounds / buttons / unresolved grief energy) that still exists within us - to start paying some attention to the wounded children within and learning to have some compassion for our own wounds instead of judging ourselves for them.

"We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago.  We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional.

When someone "pushes your buttons," he/she is activating that stored, pressurized grief energy.  She/he is gouging the old wounds, and all of the newer wounds that are piled on top of those original wounds by our repeating behavior patterns."

When I printed up a copy of these "assignments" to give to her, I also included a short exercise I had written several years ago for my Journal on detachment.  As I talk about in so many of my articles, developing a detached objective observer perspective is vital to changing our perspective of ourselves enough to start seeing ourselves with some clarity - instead of looking through the shame filter of the disease programming.  I am including that short article in this page also.

And I am adding one more area to this page.  Both the development of the detached witness perspective and this area are mostly conceptual - involving a shift in perspective - but both also require taking some action to raise our consciousness and open our minds, to explore new concepts / perspectives / paradigms / contexts in which to view our self and life.  This second conceptual arena that it is vital to focus some attention on in order to change our relationship with our self and get more in alignment with our Self, is learning to separate our self/Self from the disease in our perspective / relationship with ourselves.

Both developing a detached observer perspective and starting to see our self/Self as separate from the disease, are vital components in learning to practice discernment - the "wisdom to know the difference" between the things we have the power to change and the things we do not have the power to change.

"For anyone who is not familiar with the Serenity Prayer, here is the commonly accepted version of it - followed by my own personal adapted version.
God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
(The Serenity Prayer is generally thought to have been written by Reinhold Niebuhr)

God / Goddess / Great Spirit, please help me to access:
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (life, other people),
the courage and willingness to change the things I can (me, my own attitudes and behaviors),
and the wisdom and clarity to know the difference.

This is such a powerful, simple, and functional formula for living life that references to it comes up in my writing quite often." - Discernment - The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer
Codependency is a condition that causes us to live the Serenity Prayer backwards.  Recovery is learning to apply the Serenity Prayer in our lives so that we can learn to live life in a way that works - in a way that aligns with how life really works.  Learning to live the Serenity Prayer in our life is what will help us learn how to be our own best friend instead of always feeling like a victim of our self, feeling like our own worst enemy.

"I spent most of my life doing the Serenity prayer backwards, that is, trying to change the external things over which I had no control - other people and life events mostly - and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process - over which I can have some degree of control.  Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional.  It was very important for me to start learning how to recognize the boundaries of where I ended and other people began, and to start realizing that I can have some control over my internal process in ways that are not shaming and judgmental - that I can stop being the victim of myself.

I spent most of my life being the victim of my own thoughts, my own emotions, my own behaviors.  I was consistently picking untrustworthy people to trust and unavailable people to love.  I could not trust my own emotions because I was incapable of being honest with myself emotionally - which made me incapable of Truly being honest on any level.

I had to become willing and open and honest enough to start becoming conscious of the dysfunctional attitudes, the dysfunctional perspectives.  I had to become willing to learn discernment in order to make choices about the changes I needed to make in my perspectives - especially my perspective on my own emotional process."


Positive Affirmations
Here is a permanent affirmation for you to continue to say:
I am a Spiritual Being full of Light and Love.

Say it anytime, anyplace, to yourself or out loud every time you think of it.  If you say this affirmation 20 times a day it will be wonderful and start changing your life for the better.  If you say it 100 times a day, it will be magical and start rapidly bring change.  Truly!  It will show your willingness to grow and open up to accessing Love and Joy and Truth and Light - and each time you say it will be an action towards opening your inner intuitive channel to the clarity you are seeking.

Here are some affirmations you can choose from to add to your permanent one, to say in concert with your permanent one, when you are ready to do that.

I am Unconditionally Loved in this very moment - I always have been, I always will be.
I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my Spiritual Path and I am being guided Home.
I am a radiant expression of the Goddess energy/Great Spirit/Christ within.
I am always in the right place at the right time, successfully engaged in the right activity.
I am radiantly beautiful and vibrantly healthy and Joyously alive.
I AM a magnificent Spiritual being having a Joyous and exciting human adventure!

Here are some more affirmations, grouped together in a gradual build up.  Starting here with real simple ones rather than ones that you feel you might gag on at this point.  You could do each group for a period of time - 3 days, a week, whatever - and then go on to the next group across.  It would be great if you could read the group of affirmations 3 times a day out loud.   It would be more wonderful if you could do that a dozen times.
(It is not necessary to do a gradual build up for most people.  It is okay to jump right to the "gagging" ones.;-)
I am a capable person. 
I am a competent person. 
I am an intelligent person. 
I am a worthwhile person. 
I can dare to take a risk. 
I can dare to see what I see. 
I can dare to think what I think. 
I can dare to question anything. 
I can dare to feel what I feel.
I have a right to exist. 
I have a right to come to my own conclusions. 
I have a right to make mistakes. 
I have a right to be wrong. 
I can say what I feel. 
I can ask for what I want. 
I am free to be me. 
I do not need to prove myself. 
I am entitled to good.
I choose to be happy. 
I trust and follow my inner guidance. 
I am an unlimited being. 
I picture abundance for myself and others. 
I am Happy Joyous and Free. 
I have within myself the answers to all my needs. 
I am a beautiful person. 
I send Love to my fears.  My fears are the places within me that await my Love.
Showing the Universe willingness to take action - using your will power to say the affirmations no matter how much ego resistance comes up - is working the third step and aligning yourself with the Divine Plan of Loving Higher Power.

I am a success to the degree that I feel warm and loving to myself.
Comparison of myself with another is meaningless.
I am whole and balanced within myself. 
I always have everything I need. 
I am enough.
The Light within me is creating miracles in my body mind and relationships here and now. 
God wants me to be happy, healthy, Loved, and successful!
Abundance is my natural state of being. I accept it now!
I Love myself and naturally attract Loving relationships into my life.
I am the co-creator of my life, I am fully involved in co-creating my life in an exciting, Joyous, and harmonious way.
I am now celebrating life, having fun and enjoying myself.
I am glad I was born and I Love being alive.
I am a radiant expression of God / Goddess. 
I am now celebrating my life, having fun and enjoying myself. 
I am always deeply relaxed and centered, balanced in every way. 
I don't have to worry about what I say or what I do, because you who sent me will direct me.
My mind and body are now in balance and harmony and manifest divine perfection.
I accept responsibilities in my life happily and enthusiastically. 
I am the master of my being and an active co-creator of my life.
The entire Universe Loves me, serves me, nurtures me and wants me to win.
My debts represent my & others beliefs in my future earning ability.
The most important thing to my loved ones' happiness is that I be happy first.
I am a Magnificent Spiritual Being having a Joyous and exciting human adventure.

Making a tape recording of affirmations in your own voice and playing them to yourself can be very powerful.  Be sure to include saying "I Love you" to yourself.

Which reminds me, every time you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye and say, "I Love you ______."

"We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are here to experience feelings and touch and Love.  The goal of the healing process is not to reach someplace where we are above all the human experiences and feelings. We are here to feel these feelings.

When we become willing to feel the pain, then we become capable of feeling the Joy.  The Joy of doing this healing is incredible!  Our job is to heal and enJoy.   Our job is to be.  We are here to be human beings, not human doings.

Our job is to follow the Joy to the Truth.  Our job is to feel in the moment.

As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now.  The more we heal, the more responsibility we have - that is, ability to respond.  The ability to respond in the moment.

By honoring and releasing the sadness and the pain and the anger we can get to the Joy and the Love and the Peace.  By stopping the war within we can create world peace.  Not today.  Probably not in our lifetimes.  It will take generations (unless the "hundredth monkey effect" kicks in) but the process has begun!"

Some other pages that focus on Positive Affirmations:
Positive Affirmations - setting boundaries with CodependenceSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' More on Positive Affirmations - taking Loving action for our self
Intellectual Discernment - shutting up the critical voiceSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Reprogramming our dysfunctional ego defenses



Inner Child Work
It is important to start giving your inner child some attention.  This is for ___ (whatever name you identify as yourself in childhood)

To start off with, in relationship to ____, I would like you to try to say the following - or something similar - as often as you think about it.

 ____ was a beautiful, special little girl (boy), a precious innocent little girl (boy).  It is not okay that she (he) did not feel wanted.  It is not okay that she (he) was treated in a way that made her (him) feel evil (bad, defective, unlovable, etc.).  I am so sorry that ____ felt so bad and thought it was her (his) fault.  I am now willing to Love ____, to have compassion for that precious little girl (boy) - to own her (him) and rescue her. (him)

Second assignment with ____.  Try the right hand (dominant - so left if left handed), left hand (non dominant so right if left handed) writing some time.  Writing to ____ with your dominant hand, and then using your non dominant hand to answer.  This can produce some really mind boggling at times.

This next assignment has no deadline and is not quite as simple.  It can to be done when the Spirit moves you - in one sitting, or a little at a time, whatever works.  I believe it would be very good for you to write a fairy tale about a Beautiful Spiritual Being who is given a very important assignment to aid in the healing of the planet so human beings could learn to be more Loving to each other.  It would start off, "Once upon a time . . ." and tell the story of how this Being of Light accepted an assignment to go into human body and endure a painful life as a Princess (Prince) that was not recognized in her (his) home and in her (his) life for many, many years.  A Princess (Prince) who endures great emotional / physical / mental pain and torment in her lifetime all the time having forgotten who she (he) really was and why she (he) had come into body on this planet at this time.  There would come a point in this life of suffering and endurance that she (he) would start to wake up to her (his) True Self - where she would get enough of a memory to realize that if she (he) ever wanted to find out who she (he) Truly is, then she (he) needed to take drastic action and make a courageous leap into the unknown.  That point would come ??????.

If you can do this fairy tale of your life - writing about how this Princess (Prince) suffered, the traumatic and painful things that happened to her (him), her (his) life journey - up until ____ (turning point where recovery began), that it will set the stage for you to see yourself more clearly then ever.  In telling the story from ___ (the turning point) on (And it came to pass . . .?) you will see your life more clearly, you will write things that will help you to understand and see more clearly, than ever before.  I think if you are willing to do this, you may be able to discover some idea of what is in front of you.  It could bring some major breakthroughs.

And I do mean "do" this - like the positive affirmations it is very important to be willing to take the action.  In terms of our childhood memories, we will need to be willing to think about, focus some conscious attention on, our childhood to bring the wounding out of the darkness into the Light.  But thinking about them is just a preliminary shift in focus - we need to be willing to take action, to do the recovery writing.  A fairy tale is just one option.  It is important to write about our childhood experiences, or talk out loud about them, in order to get in touch with the feelings - thinking about them doesn't get the emotional energy flowing.  We have spent most of our life trying to not remember and not feel the feelings - it takes some action on our part to start opening up to the grief and rage that we have suppressed.  It is a matter of sitting down and starting writing and seeing where it takes you.  While writing go into details of any memories that come up - i.e. what you were wearing, any smell or color or music you remember, etc., as small details are often emotional triggers.  Like when I write, things will come up that will surprise you, ambush you, amaze you.  It is a really magical process that involves being willing to start "doing" it - and then following it to where it leads you.

"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."

To be able to say "I Love you" to the child/children within us, and to the person who we are today, and really mean it on an emotional level, is one of the goals of this process.

Until we can forgive ourselves and Love ourselves we cannot Truly Love and forgive any other human beings - including our parents who were only doing the best they knew how.  They, too, were powerless to do anything any different - they were just reacting to their wounds.

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."

Some other pages that focus on Inner Child work:
The whole section on Inner Child Healing = a path to freedom, serenity, and empowerment
including: Loving the Wounded Child WithinSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Union Within - healing the inner childSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Inner Child Healing Paradigm


Detachment Exercise

One way to start developing the observer self, the witness, is to start paying attention to your own body language.

How are you standing? How are you sitting?  What gestures are you making?  Are your arms crossed in a defensive position?  Are you making eye contact with the person you are talking to?

The dynamic of interactions, the process of what is happening, is just as important - if not sometimes more important - than the content of what is being said.  To quote the old song:  "Games people play now, every night and every day now, Never saying what they mean, never meaning what they say."  That is how codependence works.  We were taught to be dishonest, we were trained and traumatized into keeping up appearances and hiding what was really going on inside of us.  So was everyone else.

In a group, pay attention to the dynamic.  Who is trying to get the attention?  Who is hanging back being invisible?  Who interrupts?  Who changes the subject when they are uncomfortable?  What is their body language?  Who feels a need to be in control?

Starting to really pay attention to the dynamics of interactions is a very important part of learning to listen.  Listening in communications is about much more than just hearing what is being said.  Does what a person is saying match their body language?  Is someone talking just to hear themselves talk?  Are they paying any attention to what is going on with me?  Do it seem like they even care if I am listening?

There are people who are always humming or whistling or singing - that is not because they are happy, it is because they can not stand silence.  They can't stand silence because it leaves them alone with them self - so they talk or whistle or have the television on or have music playing in order to not be alone in the silence.

I have learned to really cherish silence.  One of the ways that I know whether or not someone is a safe person for me to be emotionally intimate with is if they are comfortable with silence.  If someone is not comfortable with silence it tells me that they have not yet learned to listen fully.  Someone who does not know how to listen is not someone I am going to choose to be emotionally intimate with.

Silence can really be golden.  In the silence of the moment is where it is easiest to tune into ourselves, and others, emotionally.

Pay attention in the moment.  You can tell if someone is listening to you by watching their eyes.  "If they are not listening then why am I talking?" - is a good question to start asking ourselves.

It is very important to start paying attention and listening to ourselves.  Early in my recovery, I discovered that a lot of the time I was telling stories.  Stories that were part of my self image, part of the way I wanted to portray myself.  They were stories that had grown over the years, that I had embellished to make more interesting - and they didn't have much to do with who I was now.  They were part of my codependent defense system.

Once I started observing myself, I could start becoming aware in the moment, could start Truly being present for the first time in my life.

I would suddenly become aware of the fact that I was telling an old story and the other person wasn't really listening - so I would stop myself.

I would become aware that I wasn't really listening to what the other person was saying - I was just waiting for them to pause long enough for me to jump in with my story.

I would actually catch myself in a 12 step meeting speaking to a room of 150 people and stop and say "No, you know what, that is bull shit.  That is not what is really happening.  What is really happening is I am scared," or whatever.

The more we get aware of ourselves the more we can start getting honest with ourselves.  The principle that is the foundation of recovery, that is necessary for personal growth and healing of our codependence, is self honesty.  We need to start getting honest with ourselves - to start pealing away the layers of denial that we had to adapt to survive.

The challenge is to have compassion for ourselves.  The disease will try to get us to judge ourselves for the awareness we are gaining.  The more we can develop a little detachment, a witness self that can have some compassion, the more we can start getting to know who we really are - with Love, instead of allowing the critical parent/disease voice to shame and beat us up for our self discovery.

Think of the witness as a scientific observer studying the behavior of a fascinating species.  Observe yourself and others from a place of impartial neutrality - "Oh, isn't that interesting the way that person started to attack me when I said that."  With a little detachment we can start to have choices about how to respond instead of reacting.  When we react by going on the defensive and taking other peoples behavior personally than we are off and running in the soap opera - playing out our old roles, repeating our patterns.

That will happen often as we learn to observe ourselves - it is important to have compassion for ourselves in retrospect.  To look back on something that just happened and say "Well, I certainly reacted there.  What was the dynamic that took place?"  And do a little detective work. That's when we start realizing things like:  when the person wagged their finger at me it felt like being lectured by Dad;   the tone of voice the person was using was the same kind of condescending tone Mom used to use;  and such things as that.  That is the gold.  Those are the keys to changing our behaviors - figuring our what is triggering our reactions.  It is good news to get in touch with these things - not something to judge and shame ourselves for.

Being in the observer also helps us to start watching our own thoughts.  Start paying attention to your thought patterns. Watch for any "should"s,  "have to"s, "ought to"s, - for any black and white perspective: "always", "never" - these are sure signs the disease is talking to us.   And of course, any name calling - stupid, loser, fool, idiot, etc., - is not coming from the Spirit, it is coming from the critical parent.

Someone once told me that I had 7 seconds to take back a negative thought or statement before it went out into the Universe.  Whether there is any Truth in that or not, it was very useful for me to help me start paying attention to what I was saying and thinking.  I started trying to catch those thoughts and statements and change them from negative to positive.  I would catch myself calling myself stupid and change it to silly. (I couldn't go from calling myself stupid to calling myself a Magnificent Spiritual Being in one jump - it took little steps to change the programming.)

Start acting as if you have 7 seconds to recall negative thoughts or statements and see if it doesn't help you start being more self aware, more detached.  Becoming detached is vitally important in increasing self awareness.  Self awareness is necessary for self honesty.  Self honesty is the foundation that recovery is based upon.

Start paying attention to your thoughts, your body language, your communication, your defensive reactions - and start doing it from at least a neutral observer place so that you can start taking the shame and judgment out of your internal process by not giving power to the disease, by telling the critical parent voice to shut up.

That is the way to start being Loving to our self.

Some other pages that focus on Detachment and detached observer perspective:
Inner Child Healing - How to beginSacred Spiral with tail pointing to right signifying 'going toward.' Co-Creation: Owning your Power to Manifest Love
Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Author's Foreword

Drawing a boundary between the Disease and self/Self

At the core of the dis-ease of codependency, at the foundation of our relationship with self, is what I call toxic shame.  In my definition, the difference between guilt and shame is that guilt is about behavior (I did something wrong, I made a mistake, etc.) while shame is about our being (something is wrong with me, I am a mistake.)  It is the feeling deep down inside of us that we are somehow defective, that we are somehow unlovable and unworthy because our parents were wounded codependents.

"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.

Because of our broken hearts, our emotional wounds, and our scrambled minds, our subconscious programming, what the disease of Codependence causes us to do is abandon ourselves.  It causes the abandonment of self, the abandonment of our own inner child - and that inner child is the gateway to our channel to the Higher Self.

The one who betrayed us and abandoned and abused us the most was ourselves.  That is how the emotional defense system that is Codependence works.  The battle cry of Codependence is "I'll show you - I'll get me.""

There is nothing wrong with who we are - we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience - it is our relationship with self that got screwed up in childhood.  It is our dysfunctional relationship with self and life that causes us to be our own worst enemy - that causes us to sabotage good things in our lives and create negative self fulfilling prophecies.

In our recovery, we are working to change our relationship with self into one that is based upon Love instead of shame.  In order to do that it is necessary to make paradigm shifts, change the perspectives from which we are looking at ourselves.

"We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes.  By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work.  We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us - or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not."

As long as we are reacting out of the old tapes and childhood wounds, we are powerless to change our behavior because we keep reacting between black and white extremes:  overreact or underreact;  blame them or blame me;  be in a lousy relationship or be alone.  As long as we are looking at ourselves through the dark glasses clouded with shame and judgment that is the disease programming, we are not seeing ourselves clearly.  In recovery we are cleaning our glasses - changing our perspectives.

"We do not know how to be Loving to ourselves because we were raised in societies that taught us it was shameful to be human - shameful to make mistakes, to be emotional, to be sexual, to be something other than "perfect."  Feeling that there is something inherently wrong with who we are as beings is the toxic shame that is the enemy within. . . . . .

. . . . . . It is important to start seeing the reality of the cause and effect dynamic that governs life so that we can start changing the behavior patterns that we adapted to cope with life.  Until we are open to seeing the cause and effect between our childhood and our adult patterns, we will continue to give power to the belief that there is something wrong with us individually.  That toxic shame feeling that tells us it is our fault that life hasn't worked the way we thought it was going to, is the main enemy here.  It is very important to develop a relationship with life that allows for the belief that it is not shameful to be human - and that who we are is not bad or wrong." - The Recovery Process for inner child healing - spiritual integration

Developing a detached observer perspective allows us to start to see ourselves with some objectivity so that we can recognize the cause and effect dynamics in our life.  We can start to recognize that we are creating negative consequences for ourselves - staying in relationships or jobs that are abusive, picking unavailable people to love and/or running away from someone who is available and does Love us, doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results - not because we are defective but because of our childhood wounding and programming.  That allows us to start developing some compassion for ourselves - and also to start taking responsibility for the choices we are making that are setting us up to repeat the patterns and sabotage our self.

As long as we are shaming and blaming our self, we are giving aid and support to the enemy.  Who we are is not the enemy - it is how we learned to relate to our self that is the enemy within.  We are not defective - we are wounded.  In order to start Loving our self, to start relating to our self in more kind and Loving ways, it is vital to stop identifying our self with the disease.  Our mind gives us negative, fear and shame based messages because of our disease programming, not because that is just how our mind works individually.  Our behavior has been a result of codependent reactions that are part of our ego defense system, but that does not make us shameful beings.

We can start to set a boundary in our perspective between being and behavior.  That is, we can start recognizing that everyone is perfect in their being, in their Spiritual Essence / True Self - and that everyone has some screwed up behaviors because of our wounding.  Through developing a boundary in our perspective of being and behavior, we can start honoring and Loving our being while recognizing and taking action to start changing dysfunctional behavior patterns and reactive codependent defenses.

The way we start accessing Love is through connecting with our True Self / Spiritual Self.  That allows us to start to have some compassion for our human self - and to start discerning the difference between being an imperfect wounded human being (what we are) and feeling like a defective, shameful, unlovable failure (what our disease tells us we are.)

By starting to recognize that it is not shameful or bad to be human, by starting to tune into our Spiritual Self which is the part of us that Knows we are connected to everyone and everything and that Love is the ultimate Truth, we can start to set / see a boundary between our self/Self and the disease of codependency.  Reconnecting with the Spiritual meaning and purpose of life helps us to start tuning into Spiritual Self - our intuitive inner channel to Higher Self / Higher Power / God / Goddess / Great Spirit / Universal Force.  That helps us to start having some compassion for our human self so that we can start separating our concept of self from the disease programming - from the demon / critical parent / disease voice / enemy within.

Here is are some graphics I am borrowing from one of my Positive Affirmations articles to try to make a graphic point about how important it is to start seeing the disease as a separate part of ourselves.

"That "critical parent" voice in our head is the disease lying to us.  Any shaming, judgmental voice inside of us is the disease talking to us - and it is always lying.  This disease of Codependence is very adaptable, and it attacks us from all sides.  The voices of the disease that are totally resistant to becoming involved in healing and Recovery are the same voices that turn right around and tell us, using Spiritual language, that we are not doing Recovery good enough, that we are not doing it right.
Yoda representing that the Force is with Us.
We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self - what some people call "the small quiet voice."

We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice.  As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us.  Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself - it is self-perpetuating."

Negative Messages from the disease of Codependency Jabba the hut - representing the monster within/codependency
"Always-never, should, have to - shaming messages from the disease. Darth Vadar representing the disease of codependence.
The critical parent / disease voice / gatekeeper / monster/perpetrator/demon/enemy within is the result of ego programming that causes us to view ourselves and life from a shame based negative perspective.  As long as we are interpreting life / defining self / translating our emotional reactions out of the intellectual paradigm that we were conditioned / programmed / brainwashed with in childhood, we are set up to feel like a victim - doomed to keep allowing our disease to dictate and define our lives for us.
"Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind - by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality.  The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.  Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation - which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.  If we have not done our emotional healing so that we can get in touch with our subconscious intellectual programming then we are still reacting to that early childhood programming / intellectual paradigm even though we may not be aware of it consciously." - The True Nature of Love-part 4, Energetic Clarity
We have a dis-ease / reactive condition caused - as I say in this quote - by "the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us" in early childhood.  The dynamics of the disease are the same for all of us - and are very predictable.  Out of the disease we always react to extremes - and we do things that hurt our self.

We do not have to keep being the victim of our childhood wounding and programming.  As I said in the introduction above, it is so important and vital to start seeing that "we have a dysfunctional relationship with self which was caused by our childhood experiences - and that we have the power to change that relationship into one that works better."

"Human beings have the capacity to grow.  Any time someone says anything to the effect: "That is just how it is."  "That is just how I am." "I can't help myself." etc., they are making a victim statement . . . . . As I point out so often in my writing, our attitudes, definitions and beliefs - the intellectual paradigm we are empowering (consciously or subconsciously) - determines our perspectives and expectations which in turn dictate our emotional reactions and relationships.

We do not have to be the victim of our childhood programming." - Old tapes / traditional beliefs and gender roles for men and women

It order to stop living life as a victim it is vital to start seeing our disease as separate from our self.  To start recognizing that there are multiple parts to our being.  We have a Spiritual / Higher / True Self that we can tune into.  We have a human self that was wounded - and continues to be rewounded as long as we are reacting to life out of the dysfunctional programming.  We have a disease / reactive condition that is a very powerful form of Delayed Stress Syndrome.
"Codependency is a conditioned reflex.  It is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Codependence as Delayed Stress Syndrome)  It is an effect of brainwashing, a result of behavior modification.  Codependency is condition, or dis-ease, that is caused by environmental conditions and conditioning rather than a phenomena which is genetic or innate to human nature.  (Disease =  a disturbance in a natural process, an abnormal condition which disturbs normal organic structural integrity / process.)" - Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life Chapter 5: Codependency = conditioned reactive programming
It is a powerful, insidious, self perpetuating, self defeating cycle of thinking and behavior that we are powerless over until we start learning how to stop it from dictating and defining our lives.  A big step in starting to own the power to change the quality of our life experience, change our relationship with self, is to start drawing a boundary / seeing a separation between who we are and the disease / reactive condition of codependency that is a result of our childhood experiences.

Here is a long excerpt from one of my articles in the Serenity Prayer series that addresses how important it is to start recognizing - and taking action to change - the dysfunctional ego programming from our childhood.

"The "critical parent" voice in our head is a manifestation of our damaged ego programming. The ego is the part of our being whose responsibility it is to help us survive.  Because of the emotional trauma we suffered due to the reality that our parents were wounded in their childhoods - and the dysfunctional programming of the emotionally dishonest, Spiritual hostile cultures we grew up in - our egos got programmed very badly.  Our egos got programmed to relate to life from a perspective of fear and shame, lack and scarcity.

The critical parent voice developed to try to control our own emotions and behavior so that we could survive in the dysfunctional environments we were born into.  In that development, it adapted the same tools that were used on us:  fear, shame, and guilt.  In recovery, we are working on reprogramming that critical voice to stop reacting out of fear based upon shame so that we can start learning how to be more Loving to ourselves - and how to relate to life and other people in a way that is more functional in terms of allowing us to get our needs met and enjoy life.

It is vital in recovery to start learning how to tell that critical voice to "shut up!"  It has been the play by play announcer that has been defining our lives for us.  It is time to start learning how to have a more Loving, objective, and nurturing play by play announcer inside our own heads.

Like the emotionally wounded inner child places within us, the critical parent voice is just a part of us.  We can start learning how to have some control over that part of us.  We can start learning how to be discerning about what is going on in our minds so that we can see ourselves and life with more clarity and Truth.

When I say, in the quote from my book above, that the disease is always lying - I do not mean that there isn't some truth in what it is saying.  However, because it is programmed to relate to life from a black and white / right and wrong perspective, and to believe that being human (making mistakes, not being perfect) is shameful, what it does often is take a grain of truth and blow it way out of proportion.  The reality that the inner child places within us are reacting out of life and death urgency causes the critical voice to magnify, twist and distort that grain of truth into a shaming, blaming, all encompassing indictment of our self.  The pain of being shamefully "wrong" / defective then causes us to want to blame it all on something / someone else because the only choices in a black and white perspective are to blame them or blame me.  To blame me throws me into that deep dark pit of pain and despair within where I feel inherently unlovable and unworthy.

In order to stop being the victim of our self and our wounding it is vital to start setting boundaries with that critical parent voice - to start learning how to stop the inner child abuse that is part of the disease dynamic.  Recognizing that it is not telling us the whole truth, that it is the result of faulty programming and polarized perspective, is the first step to starting to see that the critical parent voice is not an inherent part of our being.  It is not an integral component of who we are - it is a part of us that was created by programming and wounding, it is a part of us that we can have some control over, that we can change.

Then we can start practicing some discernment and use the magnificent tool that is our mind to start reprogramming the part of our mind that has been our own worst enemy.  Then we can start counteracting all the negative messages with positive messages.  Positive affirmations are a very important tool in this process.  The reality of our codependency is that we are programmed to negatively affirm ourselves hundreds of times a day - and that is on a good day, on a "bad" one we can get into the thousands.  We need to stop empowering the negative programming and start choosing to introduce positive programming into our own internal process.  This is one of the ways that we start relating to our self in a more Loving way.

It is vital to start recognizing that any fear or shame based messages, any black and white messages, any "should"s, "have to"s, "must"s - are coming from the critical parent voice.  We can learn to start countering the shame based messages with Love based affirmations, the fear based messages with faith based messages, the "should"s and "have to"s by affirming that we do have choices, that we do have access to wisdom.

In learning to access that wisdom - the "small quiet voice", the voice of our Spirit / True Self that never speaks with shame and judgment - we can start our own internal environmental clean up program.  We can learn to stop the toxic waste that is spewing out the critical parent voice from polluting our own internal landscape.

We have choices.  We have access to the power and wisdom of the Spirit.  We can learn to be more Loving to our self by developing an internal defense attorney, an internal "knight in shining armor," to defend and rescue our self and our inner children from the programming of our childhood." - Intellectual Discernment - shutting up the critical voice

We have been our own worst enemies because of our wounding and programming - but we are not the enemy.  The enemy is the disease, and it is within us.  It is very important to stop blaming ourselves and start learning how to have some discernment so we can start having the wisdom to tell the difference between messages coming from the disease - i.e. negative programming / critical parent disease voice - and messages coming from our intuition / Spirit, from our own heart and soul.  As we start to have some discernment mentally we can stop interpreting our emotional reactions as being bad or wrong or shameful so that we can start changing our relationship with our own emotions, with our own emotional wounds.

We do have the power to change our relationship with our self.  By being willing to start taking action:  to align with Spiritual Self (positive affirmations);  to change our relationship with our self by being willing to start focusing some attention on our childhood wounds;  to start consciously attempting to develop a detached observer perspective;  and to start seeing our disease as separate from our self/Self;  we can start to learn how to get past our ego defenses and start having the capacity to open our hearts to our self so that we can learn to Love in a healthy way.

Learning to open up to Love is why we are here going through this adventure.  In order to open up to receive Love from others and to give it in a healthy way, we need to be willing to take Loving action for our self to stop empowering the disease and start aligning with the Truth of Love.

"We need to own that we have the power to choose where to focus our mind. We can consciously start viewing ourselves from the "witness" perspective.   It is time to fire the judge - our critical parent - and choose to replace that judge with our Higher Self, who is a loving parent. We can then intervene in our own process to protect ourselves from the perpetrator within - the critical parent/disease voice.

(It is almost impossible to go from critical parent to compassionate loving parent in one step - so the first step often is to try to observe ourselves from a neutral position or a "scientific observer" perspective.)

This is what enlightenment and consciousness raising are all about.  Owning our power to be a co-creator of our lives by changing our relationship with ourselves.  We can change the way we think.  We can change the way we respond to our own emotions. We need to detach from our wounded self in order to allow our Spiritual Self to guide us.  We are Unconditionally Loved.  The Spirit does not speak to us from judgment and shame.

One of the visualizations that has helped me over the years is an image of a small control room in my brain.  This control room is full of dials and gauges and lights and sirens. In this control room are a bunch of Keebler-like elves whose job it is to make sure that I don't get too emotional for my own good.  Whenever I feel anything too strongly (including Joy, happiness, self-love) the lights start flashing and the sirens start wailing and the elves go crazy running around trying to get things under control.  They start pushing some of the old survival buttons:  feeling too happy - drink; feeling too sad- eat sugar; feeling scared - get laid; or whatever.

To me, the process of recovery is about teaching those elves to chill out.  Reprogramming my ego-defenses to knowing that it is ok to feel the feelings.  That feeling and releasing the emotions is not only ok it is what will work best in allowing me to have my needs fulfilled.

We need to change our relationship with ourselves and our own emotions in order to stop being at war with ourselves.  The first step to doing that is to detach from ourselves enough to start protecting ourselves from the perpetrator that lives within us." - Learning to Love our self

The core of the work is to stop shaming and judging our self and start being Loving to our self - to stop the internal conflict and start developing some inner peace.  It is the hardest thing for us to do because of our programming - but it can be done.  If you are willing to take some of the actions contained in these assignments, you will be Loving yourself by doing something Loving for your self.

The positive affirmations are an invaluable, ongoing tool in recovery.  The inner child work is the key to opening up to learning to have some compassion for our self, learning to Love our self - as I say in the quote from my book above - that inner child is the gateway to our channel to the Higher Self, to connecting with our own heart and soul.  Being willing to develop the detached observer perspective and start seeing our disease as just a part of us that we can take some control over, are keys to being able to do the emotional healing and change our dysfunctional relationship patterns.

"As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease.  We are feeding the monster that is devouring us.

We need to take responsibility without taking the blame.  We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them.

We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children - and STOP them from controlling our lives.  STOP them from driving the bus!  Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control.

And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned.  We have been doing it backwards.  We abandoned and abused our inner children.  Locked them in a dark place within us.  And at the same time let the children drive the bus - let the children's wounds dictate our lives.

We were powerless out of ego-self to do anything any different than we did it.  We are powerless out of ego-self to heal this disease.  Through Spiritual Self, through our Spiritual Connection, we have access to all the power in the Universe.

We need to have the willingness: willingness to get to a new level of self-honesty; willingness to start listening to the Loving inner voice instead of the shaming ones; willingness to face the terror of healing the emotional wounds."

Have the willingness to say the Positive Affirmation over and over again as a way of shutting up the shaming and blaming inner messages:

I am a Spiritual Being full of Light and Love!!
I am a Spiritual Being full of Light and Love!!
I am a Spiritual Being full of Light and Love!!

The more you are willing to start taking Loving action for yourself, the easier it will be to start separating your disease from your self/Self.  That will make it easier to face the terror of healing the emotional wounds - of being willing to take the journey within through the black hole of your grief.  That is how we open our hearts to Love - to Loving our self and allowing others to Love us.

"A "state of Grace" is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love.  We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit.  What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.

The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable.  And we cannot do that without going through the black hole.  The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief.  The journey within - through our feelings - is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.

It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition."

Besides the articles in the Inner Child Healing section, the following two series of articles will be helpful: The Serenity Prayer series which begins with: Discernment - The Wisdom to Know the Difference in Serenity Prayer and the 12 steps series which begins with: The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process - a formula for integration and balance
Hearts with arrow through them symbolizing both love and heartbreak.

Coming to one of my Intensive Training Days will really jump start your recovery!
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