The introduction to this page was rewritten and additions were made
to turn it into the initial article in a series of articles on relationship
dynamics. To read that short article click here Codependent Relationships Dynamics.
(Will open in separate window.) "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."
The people that come into our lives are teachers.
They enter our lives to help us grow. Unfortunately in childhood we
did not get taught that life was full of lessons to be learned - instead we
were taught that if something "bad" happens it is because we are bad, we
have done something wrong.
We got taught that life is a test that we can fail if we don't
do it "right." So, we live life in fear.
"What is so infuriating about this disease
of codependence is that it is so insidious and powerful and it folds back
in on us. When we discover we have a pattern then we want to avoid
that pattern at all costs - but in effect we are letting the disease rule
us because we are reacting to our reaction. As long as we are reacting
- and trying to figure out what is right and wrong - we are in the disease.
What is frustrating with my friend is that when she was trusting her gut
she opened her heart to me - when she got into her head is when she started
giving all the power to the fear, and started reacting out of fear of her
reactions to old wounds. She is terrified of making a mistake, doing
it wrong, etc. - which is the disease at work. There are no mistakes only
lessons - which are painful but not that painful if we are not judging and
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 so painful.
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
We attract into our lives those people who will perfectly push
our buttons for us. Who fit our particular issues exactly. If
we are looking at life as a growth process then we can learn from these lessons.
If we are reacting out of our shame core then we will see these lessons
as horrible "mistakes" and tragically "bad" choices on our part - so we that
we will carry resentments towards ourselves, not trust our self, and shut
down to the possibility of love.
We need to be willing to make healing a priority in our life if
we are ever going to have a chance to have a healthy relationship. Unless
we are healing we will fall prey to the very predictable emotional and behavioral
dynamics - the Toxic Romance Two Step - that our emotional wounds and intellectual programming
set us up to keep repeating.
"You each have emotional "buttons" that trigger
old defensive reactions, fears and insecurities - and you are sitting next
to the person who was specifically prepared and trained to be a specialist
in pushing your buttons. The gifts you will give each other by pushing
those buttons will help each of you uncover the wounds that need to be healed.
You have come together to teach each other,
to help each other heal, to support and encourage each other in your quest
to find your True Self.
If you keep healing, working through your
stuff - then you do not have to do the dysfunctional cultural dance of toxic
romance here. This does not have to be "the 'I can't live without
you, can't smile without you' addictive, make the other person your Higher
Power, be the victim, lose yourself, power struggle, right and wrong, trapped,
taken hostage, poor abused me, Two Step."
Wedding Prayer/Meditation on Romantic Commitment
We are never going to meet someone who doesn't have red flags,
who isn't wounded - the healthy behavior is to pay attention and take responsibility
for our choices. To take calculated risks that will not be "mistakes"
or "wrong" but lessons. The more conscious we get of our choices,
the more we release the grief energy/take power away from the childhood wounds
- the more we can trust our self to listen to our intuition instead of the
disease yammering in our head.
And we are never going to completely change our basic patterns
- we get healthier within those patterns. If you are attracted to alcoholics
- then progress is getting involved with a recovering alcoholic. We
are attracted to certain energies for reasons in alignment with The Divine
Plan - our choices in the past felt like mistakes because we weren't aware
that we were at boarding school learning lessons.
"In our disease defense system we build up
huge walls to protect ourselves and then - as soon as we meet someone who
will help us to repeat our patterns of abuse, abandonment, betrayal, and/or
deprivation - we lower the drawbridge and invite them in. We, in our
Codependence, have radar systems which cause us to be attracted to, and
attract to us, the people, who for us personally, are exactly the most untrustworthy
(or unavailable or smothering or abusive or whatever we need to repeat our
patterns) individuals - exactly the ones who will "push our buttons."
This happens because those people feel familiar.
Unfortunately in childhood the people whom we trusted the most were the
most familiar - hurt us the most. So the effect is that we keep repeating
our patterns and being given the reminder that it is not safe to trust ourselves
or other people.
Once we begin healing we can see that the
Truth is that it is not safe to trust as long as we are reacting out of
the emotional wounds and attitudes of our childhoods. Once we start
Recovering, then we can begin to see that on a Spiritual level these repeating
behavior patterns are opportunities to heal the childhood wounds."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
The following quotes (and some in part 2 of this web article) are from
Question and Answer pages from the original Joy to You & Me web site.
They consisted of questions that had been sent in by e-mail and Robert's
answers. These quotes are followed by a link to the appropriate page
in the other web site. They will open in a separate browser window
so that you can read them if you feel like and then collapse the window to
return to this page.
And in order to walk a Spiritual path, it
is necessary to reprogram the mental perspectives of life that we learned
growing up in a Spiritually hostile, shame-based society.
Perhaps the first, and certainly the most
nurturing, thing we do when starting to walk a Spiritual path is to
start seeing life in a growth context - that is to start realizing that life
events are lessons, opportunities for growth, not punishment because we screwed
up or are unworthy.
We are Spiritual beings having a human experience
not weak, shameful creatures who are here being punished or tested for worthiness.
We are part of/an extension of an ALL-Powerful, Unconditionally Loving God-Force/Goddess
Energy/Great Spirit, and we are here on Earth going to boarding school not
condemned to prison. The sooner that we can start awakening to that Truth,
the sooner we can start treating ourselves in more nurturing, Loving ways.
Life is constantly changing. There are always
going to be endings and new beginnings. There is always going to be grief
and pain and anger about what we have to let go of, and fear of what is
to come. It is not because we are bad or wrong or shameful. It is just the
way the game works.
So there is good news and bad news. The good
news is that a New Age has dawned in human consciousness and that we now
have tools, knowledge, and access to healing energy and Spiritual guidance
that has never before been available. We are discovering the rules of the
game that we have been playing for thousands of years by rules that don't
The bad news is that it's a stupid game -
or at least it feels like it some of the time. The more we understand that
it is a game, that this is just boarding school, the easier it becomes to
nurture ourselves by not shaming and judging ourselves. We are going to
get to go home. We don't have to earn it - that's what Unconditional Love
Column Spring &