"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 disease, of not being in balance and harmony
with the universe, of feeling disconnected from our Spiritual source."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney
There are a variety of ways to describe the condition of codependency.
Here are a few:
At it's core, a dysfunctional relationship with self. We do not know
how to Love our self in healthy ways because our parents did not know
how to Love themselves. We were raised in shame-based societies that
taught us that there is something wrong with being human. The messages
we got often included that there is something wrong: with making mistakes;
with not being perfect; with being sexual; with being emotional; with
being too fat or too thin or too tall or too short or too whatever.
As children we were taught to determine our worth in comparison with
others. If we were smarter than, prettier than, better grades than,
faster than, etc. - then we were validated and got the message that
we had worth.
In a codependent society everyone has to have someone to look down
on, in order to feel good about themselves. And, conversely, there
is always someone we can compare ourselves to that can cause us to
not feel good enough.
more accurately be called outer or external dependence. The condition
of codependence is about giving power over our self- esteem to outside
sources/agencies or external manifestations. We were taught to look
outside of our selves to people, places, and things - to money, property
and prestige, to determine if we have worth. That causes us to put
false gods before us. We make money or achievement or popularity or
material possessions or the "right" marriage the Higher
Power that determines if we have worth.
We take our self-definition and self-worth from external manifestations
of our own being so that looks or talent or intelligence becomes the
Higher Power that we look to in determining if we have worth.
All outside and external conditions are temporary and could change
in a moment. If we make a temporary condition our Higher Power we
are setting ourselves up to be a victim - and, in blind devotion to
that Higher Power we are pursuing, we often victimize other people
on our way to proving we have worth.
(I believe that we are all ONE. That we all have equal worth as Spiritual
Beings, as sons and daughters of the God-Force / Goddess Energy /
Great Spirit - not because of any external manifestation or outside
A particularly vicious form of delayed stress syndrome. Instead of
being traumatized in a foreign country against an identified enemy
during a war, as soldiers who have delayed stress are - we were traumatized
in our sanctuaries, by the people we loved the most. Instead of having
experienced that trauma for a year or two as a soldier might - we
experienced it on a daily basis for 16 or 17 or 18 years. A soldier
has to shut down emotionally in order to survive in a war zone. We
had to shut down emotionally, because we were surrounded by adults
who were emotional cripples of one sort or another.
a dysfunctional emotional and behavioral defense system. When a society
is emotionally dishonest, the people of that society are set up to
be emotionally dysfunctional. In this society being emotional is described
as falling apart, losing it, going to pieces, coming unglued, etc.
(Other cultures give more permission to be emotional but then the
emotions are usually expressed in ways that are out of balance to
the extreme of letting the emotions control. The goal is balance between
emotional and mental - between the intuitive and the rational.)
Traditionally in this society men have been taught that anger is the
only acceptable emotion for a man to express, while women are taught
that it is not acceptable for them to be angry. If it is not ok to
own all of our emotions then we can not know who we are as emotional
beings. [Also traditionally, women are taught to be codependent -
take their self-definition (including their names) and self-worth
- from their relationships with men, while men are taught to be codependent
on their work/career/ability to produce, and from their presumed superiority
a disease of lost self. If we are not validated and affirmed for who
we are in childhood then we don't believe we are worthy or lovable.
Often we got validated and affirmed by one parent and put down by
the other. When the parent who is "loving" does not protect
us - or themselves - from the parent that is abusive, it is a betrayal
that sets us up to have low self esteem because the affirmation we
received was invalidated right in our own homes.
And being affirmed for being who we are is very different than being
affirmed for who our parents wanted us to be - if they could not see
themselves clearly then they sure could not see us clearly. In order
to survive, children adapt whatever behavior will work best in helping
them get their survival needs met. We then grow up to be adults who
don't know our self and keep dancing the dance we learned as children.
A dysfunctional relationship is one that does not work to make us
Codependency is about having a dysfunctional relationship with self.
With our own bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits. With our own gender
and sexuality. With being human. Because we have dysfunctional relationships
internally we have dysfunctional relationships externally. We try
to fill the hole we feel inside of our self with something or someone
outside of us - it does not work.
To read more of Robert's articles, please visit his web site
Spiritual Teacher and Codependency Therapist Robert
Burney, whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw's "except
much more spiritual" and described as "taking inner child
healing to a new level," has developed a unique approach to emotional
healing that is the next level of recovery from codependency so many
people have been seeking. He has pioneered an inner child healing
paradigm that offers a powerful, life-changing formula for integrating
Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior
into one's emotional experience of life - a blueprint for individuals
to transform their core relationship with self and life.
In his book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls "A Cosmic
Perspective on Codependence and the Human Condition" he postulates
that Codependence (i.e. outer or external dependence) is The Human
Condition - and that we have now entered a new Age of Healing and
Joy in which it is possible to heal the planet through healing our
relationships with self. He combines Twelve Step Recovery Principles,
Metaphysical Truth, and Native American Spirituality with quantum
physics and molecular biology in presenting his belief that we are
all connected, we are all extensions of the Divine, and that ultimately
Love is our True essence.
Books, and tapes are available for sale at: http://Joy2MeU.com