"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."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
by Robert Burney
Consciousness raising is a process of enlarging the intellectual paradigm
which we base our relationship with life upon. As I have stated previously
in this series, our beliefs, attitudes, and definitions determine our expectations
and perspectives - which in turn dictate our emotional relationships to
everything and everyone in our environment. And when I say everything,
I am not just talking about objects. Everything includes ideas, concepts,
In order to have healthier romantic relationships it is very important
to examine our concept of romantic love. If we do not have a healthy
concept - realistic definitions and beliefs about - romantic love, then
we do not have much chance of having a healthy relationship. If our
concept of romance is based on the fairy tales and books, songs and movies,
from our childhoods, then we are set up to be disappointed in our romantic
Read the quotation above and substitute "love" everywhere it says "life"
and you might better understand why you have felt like a victim in romantic
relationships. We were set up to be victims in romance because we
were taught that it is a magical paradise where we will have all of our
needs met - and live "Happily ever after". We were taught that getting
the romance was the goal and that after that everything was smooth sailing.
Obviously that is not how it works in reality.
It is part of the dysfunctional nature of society that we are set up
to believe that love, and life, are something other than what we are led
to expect them to be. It is also part of the dysfunctional nature
of society - and of civilization as we have inherited it - that we react
to not having our expectations met by blaming. We blame the other
person, or we blame ourselves. And even underneath the blame we are
pointing toward the other person, is the feeling deep inside of us that
it is all our fault. That there is something unworthy and unlovable,
something defective about who we are at our core. The more loudly
and emphatically we blame the other is usually a direct reflection of how
much shame we feel about ourselves deep within.
As long as we are blaming we are buying into the belief that we are
victims - either of them, or of our self. It is very important to
move out of the victim place into a place of empowerment. Empowerment
comes from owning our choices. Empowerment is about seeing life as
it is and making the best of it - instead of being the victim of life,
and other people, not being what we wish they were.
Love as we have been programmed to understand the concept, is one of
the great victimizers in our culture - and one of the biggest excuses for
Whenever someone I have been working with answers the question "Why
do you stay?" - in a relationship that is abusive or with someone who is
unavailable - with the line "because I love him/her," my response
is "No, what is the real reason." Because the "love" is never the
bottom line. The bottom line is always fear. Fear of being
alone, of not being able to support self, of never having another relationship,
of getting in a worse relationship, etc.
If we are living life in reaction to fear, we are being victims - and
there is no chance of us being healthy in a relationship if we are making
our choices in reaction to fear.
That is why it is so important to have a Spiritual Awakening - to raise
our consciousness. By being in recovery, on a healing path, we are
realigning our intellectual paradigm away from one that is driven by fear
to one that is based on Love. In awakening to the possibility that
perhaps there is a Higher Power that Loves us, we can start seeing life
as a growth process rather than a test we can fail. Then the events
and people in our life become opportunities for growth rather than instruments
Life then become an adventure. One that can be painful and scary,
can feel like a stupid game sometimes, but one that can also be Joyous
and wondrous and full of miracles at times.
By changing our concept of romantic love, we can also make it a great
adventure to be explored rather than some test we can fail.
Romantic relationships are the greatest arena for Spiritual growth available
to us. It is well worth the risk to take a chance on love if we are
viewing it as a learning experience rather than the goal in, and of, itself.
Romance is part of the journey - not the destination.
There is nothing wrong with wanting the prince or princess to come into
our lives. What is important is to know that they will have issues
to work through - and they will push the buttons of our issues so that
we are forced to face them. Romantic relationships are hard work.
It is necessary to keep working on them to give them a chance to be healthy.
Being in Love is a wonderful, magical feeling. It fills us with
energy and lightens our spirit so that we feel we are soaring on the wings
of Love. It is wonderful to feel that energy. What is dysfunctional
is expecting it to last forever. It is important to know that the
feeling of being in love is not going to last forever, or be there all
of the time. Two people who are working on emotional intimacy - who
are communicating and working through issues - can recapture that feeling
again and again for years and years, but it is not going to always be the
reality of your relationship.
Another way it is important to change our perspective of love is to
own that falling in love is a choice. It is not some camouflaged
trap in the sidewalk you are the victim of falling into. It is a
choice. Get conscious about your choices. It is not smart,
or functional, to choose to fall in love with someone who is unavailable.
We are, of course, drawn to certain people. We are drawn to people
who feel familiar energetically. They might feel familiar because
you have known them in past lives - maybe they are your twin soul or soul
mate. That doesn't mean they will not have issues to deal with.
In fact, there will probably be more issues because of the Karma involved.
More likely, they feel familiar because they fit your patterns.
That is, they are the type of unavailable or abusive or addictive person
that you have always been drawn to because of your childhood wounds.
I realized at a certain point in my recovery that if someone felt like
my soul mate I had better beware.
Sometimes, it is both kinds of familiarity. The point is to pay
attention and make a conscious choice. You do not get involved with
someone because you are forced to - you choose to get involved.
The more we heal our childhood emotional wounds and change the dysfunctional
intellectual programming the clearer we can see reality. The more
we learn to have boundaries, to ask for what we need, to be direct and
honest in our communication, the healthier we become in our relationships.
Healthy enough to get out of them quickly if we see too many warning signs.
Romantic relationships can be a great adventure if our perspective and
expectations of them are realistic and healthy.