Abundant Spirituality + codependency recovery + inner child healing + Love = Joy2MeULogo of Joy to You & Me Enterprises, publisher of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls Joy2MeU Home Page

This is a newsletter processing page added to an Update Newsletter of the Joy2MeU web site of codependency therapist, inner child healing pioneer, Spiritual teacher Robert Burney - who is the author of the Joyously inspirational book of Spirituality: Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls.

In February of 2009 I am updating the copyright on all my Update Newsletter pages and removing the code that blocks search engines from indexing these pages.  The message on the top of this page originally was: "The search engines are blocked from indexing this page so I am not including the left hand column with all the identifying info and graphics."

This is part 3 of the Newsletter of the May 23, 2001 Update.

Joy2MeU Newsletter 

My Patterns

For most of my adult life, I effectively had a relationship phobia.  The extremes I learned in childhood were completely unavailable (my father) and completely enmeshed (my mother.)  In my first sexually and emotionally intimate relationship (not any true emotional intimacy because I was incapable of it then - more accurate would be to call it emotional attachment) I got completely enmeshed with a woman I met in college.  She was the one who really initiated me into being sexual.  We got engaged to be married.  I caught her in bed with my best friend - literally, caught them in bed.

I realized in retrospect in recovery, that she had almost certainly been the victim of incest from a young age - and was a sex addict.  The pain of that experience, was to say the least, incredible.  I was so much in denial of my feelings, and so codependent, that I stayed engaged to her for another year and a half.

I did not again in the next twenty years, make the mistake of getting involved with someone who was available enough to have the power to hurt me like that.  I pursued only unavailable women.  I always had someone unavailable that I was obsessing over, trying to figure out how to get her to see how wonderful we could be together.  (This was completely unconscious and something I only realized looking back at my patterns in recovery.)

The other extreme for me, was allowing myself to get physically involved with women I did not really want to be with, with women I did not feel a strong attraction / energetic connection to.  Then I would be the unavailable one.

While I was still drinking and using, I had many sexual encounters that were short term - a lot of one night stands, some that involved more than one encounter, once fell in love with a married woman, even a marriage of sorts that lasted a year - but none that had the possibility of being a truly intimate relationship.

In recovery, it took me over seven years of being clean and sober - and almost five years of Codependence recovery - before I was past my terror of intimacy enough to actually get in a relationship that lasted for two years.  An incredibly wonderful, and very painful, learning experience.  It then took another five years until I did a romantic dance with someone with whom I felt a connection with great power.  (That relationship experience was 2 and a half years ago, and is the Adventure in Romance that is quoted in part 2.  More details and sharing about how my path has unfolded - including in relationship to romantic relationships and sexuality - is included in the Joy2MeU Journal.)

Emotional Incest Issues

My patterns in regard to emotional intimacy were dictated by my childhood wounds - my black and white perspective of the options available.  My codependent defense system caused me to be attracted to women who were completely unavailable to me emotionally.  This was to protect me from the pain of getting enmeshed and being betrayed. 

I am very grateful for that relationship phobia.  Had I not been betrayed (or more accurately, discovered the betrayal) and gone ahead with the marriage and having kids kind of life I was headed for, there is no way - with my alcoholism and the rage I was carrying towards my mother - that I could have avoided being abusive.  Since that was not my path in this lifetime - was in fact the type of Karma I needed to specifically avoid - the Universe had my path unfold perfectly to adapt the defenses necessary. 

Good news, bad news again.  I have been deprived in the area of relationships, and have a great deal of pain about that - but it was a perfect part of my path and had a silver lining.

The fear of betrayal however, was not the deepest level of wound that my terror of intimacy developed in reaction to.  During the course of my recovery, I got in touch with the damage that was done to me because of those enmeshment issues with my mother.

By the time I was 4 or 5 I felt overwhelming shame.  I felt like I was inadequate and defective because I was unable to protect my mother from my father.  My mother emotionally incested me - made me her surrogate spouse - and I felt at that young age that her feelings were my responsibility.  By the time I was seven I would not allow my mother to touch me - because her touch felt "icky" - and would not show her any feelings.  I was being cool at seven in a passive-aggressive response to my mothers complete lack of emotional boundaries - I would not admit to being happy about anything or hurt or scared or anything.  I was completely emotionally isolated by the time I was seven years old.
It was my emotional incest issues that really dictated my emotionally intimate relationships.  Obsessing about someone who was unavailable, feeling betrayed by their inability to see our potential, feeling abandoned when they rebuffed me, was the less painful of the two extremes that my spectrum in relationship with romantic relationships involved.  The result which would have been more devastating - in my subconscious emotional perspective of the options available to me - was getting into a relationship with someone who was available and being revealed for the shameful, unlovable being that I felt I was.
Through revisiting the eight year old who I was, I get to understand on a new level why I have always been attracted to unavailable people - because the pain of feeling abandoned and betrayed is the lesser of two evils.  The worst possible thing, to my shame-based inner children, is to have revealed how unworthy and unlovable I am . . . . . It is no wonder that at my core I am terrified of loving someone who is capable of loving me back. 
I was terrified of being responsible for another persons feelings, for their happiness.  I had failed in my responsibility to my mother - and was certain (subconsciously) that I would fail again, because something was obviously wrong with me.   Any woman who felt available, was someone to run away from, or push away.  I was terrified of being smothered, of being engulfed, by a woman's emotional needs - and then being betrayed because of my defective being.  This is one of the effects of emotional incest.
And if Dad was emotionally available it was often in an emotionally incestuous way (surrogate spouse) so in that case the last thing a woman wants (on a subconscious level) is a male who is available emotionally - because the burden of feeling responsible for Dad's feelings was too heart breaking.
It was actually less painful for me to be alone, obsessing about someone who was unavailable, then it was to be the unavailable one.  In those interactions, the evidence seemed to indicate that I was incapable of loving.  The other person would often accuse me of exactly that.  Being able to blame someone else for my feelings of abandonment and betrayal was less painful than blaming myself for being defective.  More bearable than the pain of that little boy who felt he had failed in his responsibility for his mother's feelings and well being.

It took some years in recovery before I realized that I wasn't capable of being loving in those interactions because they were not with people I was attracted to, felt connect with, on the deepest levels. Like, duh, no wonder I was unavailable in relationships I did not really want to be in, in the first place.

My relationship phobia was only on the surface about trying to avoid the pain of being abandoned and betrayed - underneath that, was the fear of having my defective, unlovable self revealed.

(This is where that October Update comes into play.  In writing that Update I got in touch with a level of my fear of intimacy issues that was underneath these two primary ones.  The deepest level that I have ever uncovered.  I will include a link to the October Update at the end of this article. )

Dancing with emotional intimacy - changing my patterns

So the formula - uncover the wound, discover the cause and effect so I could do some healing about the cause and understand my patterns better, recover by learning how to do things differently - is what I have been doing in relationship to emotionally intimate relationships for many years now.

My patterns were, of course, about 1 and 10.  I would be attracted to someone who was unavailable, and would tell them that it was OK to be just friends.  I was being dishonest with them and with myself.  My dishonesty with myself - because I wasn't owning that I had a destination in mind, that I was really motivated by trying to get what I wanted - would taint all of my communication with the person.  I would be dishonest on all levels, because of my hidden agenda.  All of my interactions with them would be colored by my underlying motive.  If, and when, I finally got honest with them - they would feel betrayed.

The other extreme was to become emotionally intimate friends with a woman who I wasn't attracted to.  Then I would feel betrayed when they admitted to wanting a romantic and/or physical relationship with me.

I also have a responsibility to the people I choose to spend time with.  I have a responsibility to communicate as clearly and honestly as possible.  That does not just mean verbal or written communication.  It also means the messages I am conveying by my actions.  One of my old patterns was to have an emotionally intimate friend who was a woman that I was not attracted to physically / romantically.  I would be real clear in telling this person that I was not interested in that type of relationship and that I wanted to just be friends.  Then I would feel betrayed when that person let me know that she wanted to be more than just friends.  I used to fall back on the excuse that I had told them clearly and therefore I wasn't responsible for their feelings.  I learned that setting a boundary verbally was not enough to absolve me of responsibility of my actions.  I was not responsible for their feelings, but in investing time and energy into the relationship, in exposing myself to them emotionally / being intimate with them on an emotional level, I was denying a basic reality of human interaction and setting myself up to feel like a victim. (The belief that our intense emotional hunger and incredibly powerful sexual energies will not come into play in an emotionally intimate relationship between individuals of the opposite sex - or same sex if homosexual - is an insane expectation as unrealistic as expecting everyone to drive the way we want them to.  Denial is one extreme - letting our desires rule is the other.  The gray area in between is where life takes place, is the arena we are learning to play in.)
This is a common pattern with survivors of emotional incest.  It is almost as if, on some level, to be emotionally and physically intimate with the same person would be a betrayal of the emotionally incestuous parent.  When an emotionally intimate friend who I wasn't attracted to would admit to wanting more - I would actually feel like it was kind of "icky." (The only word that I have ever come up with to accurately describe the discomfort I came to feel when physically touched by my mother.  It wasn't a sexual thing at all, it was because her emotional investment in me was so out of balance that it made physical touch uncomfortable.)

It is common for emotional incest survivors to have sexual relationships with people they don't even really like as a person, and then complain about those relationships to an emotionally intimate friend of the same sex as the person they are involved with.  This is a form of emotional abuse.  And the survivor will feel terribly betrayed if the emotionally intimate friend admits to any attraction on a physical/sexual level.

in to me see

One extreme or the other, 1 or 10 - a really dysfunctional way to do relationships. 

Intimacy is about allowing another person to see into us - in to me see.  When we allow another person to see into us deep enough, what they are going to see is a Magnificent Spiritual Being.  If we are not doing our healing - are still allowing our relationship with ourselves to be dictated by the shame of the child who felt unlovable - that means they will be seeing something which we cannot see.

One of the really difficult thing in relationships, is that often we can see how beautiful the other person Truly is - but they cannot see it in themselves.  So, we hang onto relationships knowing how wonderful the other person really is, and what potential they have, but they react to us out of the defenses they adapted to push us away, or run away from us.  If they are not in the process of healing and recovery, of getting in touch with and changing their patterns, then they are not going to be available to us in the way we want them to be.  We can learn a lot about ourselves by relating to them - but ultimately will end up feeling like a victim of their inability / unwillingness to change.

We cannot control or change the other person.  Our first priority - our responsibility - is to learn to be more emotionally intimate with ourselves.  Other people come into our lives as teachers to help us learn about ourselves.

In order to start changing my patterns, I had to learn to start being emotionally honest with myself.  I had to start learning how to be honest with myself on all levels in relationship to emotionally intimate relationships.  It is possible to be very evolved and enlightened in relationship to many areas, and still be emotionally immature and unconscious in relationship to romantic relationships.  In fact, it is pretty common. ;-)

I can look back at the two year relationship that ended over 8 years ago, and see how very immature I was in that relationship.  I had a great deal of theoretical knowledge, but very little practical experience in applying it in a relationship.  The lessons I learned in that relationship were an incredible gift.  The growth that was possible because I was involved in that relationship - growth in terms of understanding myself and understanding of the dynamics of romantic relationship, of intimately relating to another person on the deepest levels - were lessons that I could only learn by being emotionally involved in a relationship.

One of the tricky things about relationships - about relating to another human being on an emotionally intimate level - is that the only way to Truly learn how we will react, how much we have grown, to shine more Light on our deepest and most powerful wounds, is to go through the experience.  In other words, in order to learn how to do relationships in a healthy way, we need to be relating to someone who pushes our buttons.  It is only when we are emotionally involved in a relationship - have some emotional investment in our relationship to another person, be it romantic or friendship - that our buttons get pushed.  We learn how to do relationships by doing them.

Until I actually had the short dance with romantic connection that I had 2 and a half years ago, I had no idea how much I had grown in this area.  And when I look at how much I have grown and learned in all areas, including in relationship to romantic relationships, in the last few years, it is very exciting to think of what it will be like the next time I have an opportunity to do a romantic dance.  It is also, on a gut level, very scary.

The problem comes in finding a dance partner.  And I am not just talking about romance here - I mean any kind of truly emotionally intimate relationship.  It is easy to have friendly acquaintances.  What is hard is finding someone who is willing to explore the territory that is necessary for true friendship to develop and blossom.

I have found it important to have boundaries in terms of how I view other people.  If I have one or two people in my life that I feel that I can truly communicate with and be emotionally honest with on all levels, that is an incredible abundance.  For much of my recovery I have not had anyone who fell into that category. . . . . .In terms of friends, there are going to be people in my life, who I can share certain things with - but not other things.  Some people that I can relate to on certain levels, or about certain issues.
One of the major goals in recovery is to learn to have more discernment in our choices about who to take the risk of opening ourselves up to.  If the person is not involved in a healing process, then we can certainly learn about ourselves in relating to them - but we are setting ourselves up to feel victimized if we buy into thinking the relationship has a chance to be what we want it to be.

The road does get narrower.  The more we recover, the more discerning we need to be in our choices about who we are going to invest our time and energy in getting to know.  It takes a considerable investment of time and energy to really get to know someone.  If the other person is not working through issues, learning about themselves, then they will not be capable of working through the issues that come up in the relationship.

Two hearts with an arrow through them symbolizing both Love and heartbreak.

Uncover, Discover

This brings us back to the swinging pendulum - and my discovery of having slipped back into some black and white thinking in this area.  What I am going to do now, is share what I wrote a few days ago - what I thought was my highest truth until I uncovered another level of denial in my processing these last few days.  Then I will share what was revealed to me about how I was repeating my patterns on a more subtle level.

First though, I want to make note that what I will be sharing below is about my relationships to women.  Here is what I wrote about emotionally intimate relationships with men.

I have just not found any men in this area that have enough recovery or consciousness to make an emotionally intimate relationship possible.  In 1997 I moved to Santa Barbara for a number of reasons - trying to increase financial abundance, trying to be less isolated, wanting to connect with some other men in a way that I had not been able to in this area - and did develop two emotionally intimate relationships with men.  They both ended up moving to different parts of Arizona.  Go figure.
I have male friends who I play golf with, or talk sports with, but I haven't found anyone that was available to develop a true friendship with.  The reality in our dysfunctional society is that it is very difficult for a man to give himself permission to own his emotions.  The traditional type of codependence that men learn in this society involves taking their self definition and self worth from what they do - while women were taught to take their self definition and self worth from their relationships with men.
It is a double set up for women in this society.  First of all the men were taught that it was not manly to be emotional and that what makes them successful as a man is what they produce - and then women were taught that they needed to be successful in romantic relationships with emotionally unavailable men in order to be successful as a woman.  What a set up!
The reality is that doing this emotional work is so scary that we need to be forced by the Universe to become willing to do it.   Women are programmed to have their self worth tied into relationships, and are thus forced to do the work in order to start feeling good about themselves.  Men have much more capacity for maintaining denial because their primary focus to maintain an illusion of self worth is their work.  There are a lot more women doing this work on a deep level than men.  Maybe some of you women have noticed that. ;-)

The other thing I want to note here before continuing is what I mean when I talk about having a strong feeling of attraction:

When I speak of feelings of attraction / connection - the future article I am going to write about because there are so many levels involved in it - I am talking about more than just a physical attraction.  Physical attraction is certainly a part of it, but it is a feeling that also includes emotional attraction - and a feeling of Spiritual / energetic connection, possibly Karmic.  Because of my physical / sexual deprivation issues - and the power of our human need for touch, as well as the power of our sexual drives - I have learned to be very alert in my relationship with myself, in order to be discerning about where my feelings of connection are coming from within me.  One of my old patterns was convincing myself that I had a strong Karmic connection with someone when it was really more lust than anything.
Now, onward into my denial.

Changing my Patterns

In order to start changing my patterns, I needed to change the way I was doing relationships.  That means being more honest with my self and the other person.  That means taking responsibility for my side of the street - for the things that I am responsible for.

In terms of women that could be friends, who I am not attracted to in any strong way, I need to be careful that she has a level of recovery and emotional honesty to be capable of being honest about, and working through any issues that arise.  In the quote above where I mention "our intense emotional hunger and incredibly powerful sexual energies" I was not saying that people cannot be friends with someone who is of the gender they are sexually attracted to.  What I was talking about is the reality that developing emotional intimacy with another person brings about feelings of closeness.  Those feelings of intimacy with another being will touch off the parts of us that are starved for emotionally nurturing touch - which can then start our sexual juices flowing.  There will be moments when some pretty strong internal parts of us, will flirt with the idea of taking the relationship beyond friendship.  It is important not to just react out of 1 or 10 - in denial or instant gratification - or the relationship will be damaged.  It is vital to be able to communicate in the 2 through 9 arena.

On a personal responsibility level, I need to be alert so that I don't allow myself to use another person to get some of my emotional intimacy needs met if we are not clearly and honestly communicating - that was my old pattern.

There are some women in this vicinity that I think I could be emotionally intimate with, that I don't feel a strong connection / attraction to - but none of them has shown a desire to pursue a deeper friendship with me.  My part in things is to open up to the possibility, to make contact, put out feelers - if the other person doesn't respond, then I need to let it go.  It doesn't work for me to try to force something that isn't unfolding naturally.  The Universe has the power to make things happen - to present opportunities, coincidental meetings, etc. - if it is meant to be.

There are also some women who I have some degree of attraction to - some of them pretty strong ones - who obviously are not appropriate possibilities at this time.  This may be because they do not have enough recovery or Spiritual consciousness to be able to be on the same page with me in terms of how we are relating to life.  It may be that they are involved in a relationship, or that they are geographically unavailable.  Unavailable is unavailable - rather that be geographic or emotional.

I do not pursue unavailable women any more.  I do not spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince unavailable women to see the light (see things my way) and wake up to how good we could be together.  I also do my best to not use other people to meet my emotional needs if I believe we are not connecting in the same way, communicating on close to the same level. 

Eliminating spending time and energy with the unavailable women, and not using women that I am unavailable to, without honest communication between us, seriously depletes the number of possibilities.  The road gets narrower indeed. 

I have also learned to be discerning in how honest I am in some of the above scenarios.  For instance, let's say:  A woman I know has just a year in recovery in AA, and is just starting to deal with her codependence issues.  She has indicated some attraction to me. I have some degree of attraction to her.  She is just starting to awaken to who she Truly is and to know what life in recovery is all about.  It would be dishonest of me, and irresponsible on my part, to share with her that I was attracted to her.  It would be dishonest because she does not have a need to know that, for the level of friendship I am willing to get involved in with her, at this time.  In a case like this, I will limit my contact with the other person - to protect myself from my old patterns.  I know that I need to have a boundary with myself about how much time and energy I put into a relationship - so that I am not using the other person, or setting myself up to repeat an old pattern.

It would be irresponsible, because one of my old patterns was to throw out little nuggets of encouragement to women who were attracted to me - and whose attentions excited the deprived parts of me - but to whom I did not have a strong enough feeling of connection to think we had any potential to be a couple.  (When I started getting very honest with myself, I had to own that often the attraction I was feeling was mostly from the animal level of lust that men have for women.)  I would give them just enough encouragement to get them to chase after me - in case I became particularly needy and decided to allow them to catch me. (Because then of course, I wasn't responsible for them chasing me - what a tangled web.)  Then boom, I have just become the unavailable one again, because I have allowed my deprivation issues to get me involved with someone who I didn't really have any strong desire to get involved with.  That is one example of how I, in my codependent patterns, used honesty as a form of manipulation.  I was being honest on a certain level in admitting to some woman that I felt some attraction to her - but I was not living with true integrity.

With women who I do feel a strong degree of attraction / connection, who even remotely seem to have enough recovery / consciousness to be possible candidate for an emotionally intimate relationship - I need to be honest with myself about that, and at an appropriate point in getting to know them, get honest with them about my feeling of attraction.

And I mean emotionally intimate.  That does not mean that they need to be available for a romantic relationship with me.  It means that I need to feel that kind of attraction - I need to know for myself, that to me that kind of relationship is possible - so that interacting with them will push those buttons within me that I need to get in touch with.  In other words, even if in reality there is slim to no chance of the relationship evolving into a romantic one - I need to have that kind of feeling of connection in play, in order to heal my relationship with myself in relationship to both emotionally intimate relationships with women and romantic relationships.

I need to be able to start developing an emotionally intimate relationship with someone who I have a strong attraction to - in order to practice having boundaries with the parts of me who will react when buttons are pushed.  That is how I am going to go to the next level in learning how to do emotionally intimate relationships with emotional honesty and responsibility.  That is the only way I can truly learn how much progress I have made in this area - and get in touch with levels that still needs some healing focus.

Unfortunately, the pattern that has occurred when I have tried to break my old patterns by being honest in this way, is that the women I am honest with run away.  They react to their fear of intimacy and past relationship experiences, by withdrawing completely from having any contact with me.  And sadly, most of them have not had enough recovery to be honest with me about what they were feeling or what they were doing - they just disappeared off of the radar screen of my life.

I hate it when people disappear.  The only way that issues can be worked through is by communicating.  It has been a real sadness to me in recovery, how few people are willing to stick around and communicate.

In recovery we are trying to learn about the gray areas - 2 through 9 - instead of just reacting to extremes.  In order to do that we need to play in the gray areas - we need to be interacting with someone who pushes our buttons in order to take the power away from our wounds.  In recovery we need to take risks.  The point is to make better choices about who to take risks with.  Taking risks with someone else who is in recovery and has the possibility of being someone we can communicate safely with - is one of the great adventures in recovery.  To find someone who has some consciousness and healing, and is willing to explore emotional intimacy by spending some time and energy interacting, is a wonderful gift.

The irony involved in the fact that women - who have been wounded by emotionally unavailable and dishonest men - react to honesty from a man who is emotionally available and working an honest recovery program by running away, is not real humorous to me much of the time.  In some of these cases, I have known that the person would stick around to some extent if I did not get honest with them.  I still needed to take the risk of getting honest, because it is what I had to do for me to change my patterns.  I need to take risks and let go of the outcome.  So far the outcomes have been sad.

In one situation that occurred not too long ago, the woman stated that she was not interested in a relationship with me and asked if it was OK if we were just friends.  I said, "It is OK until it isn't."  Not particularly articulate that day.  What I meant was, "I would like to explore interacting with each other so that I can learn how I react, how good I am at setting boundaries with myself internally, and discover anything I need to get in touch with.  It will be OK with me to be friends but I may discover at some point that it is not comfortable for me anymore.  When that happens I will let you know."  But I haven't yet figured out a really good way to communicate that - maybe because I haven't been as clear about it until now as I write about it.

I can try to explain as clearly as possible, that I am only sharing a feeling - not declaring an intention, or stating a goal.  That I am being honest about feeling strongly attracted to the person because I need to do that for myself to change my old patterns - and that it does not mean that I expect a romantic relationship with her, or have that in mind as a destination of our interaction.  No matter how clearly I explain however, another person can't hear me if they are reacting to their wounds.

Any time we are reacting we are empowering our disease, we are being codependent.  That includes, when we are reacting to our reactions.  For a woman who I take the risk of being honest with to react by disappearing, is to empower her wounds.  Not being honest with someone because you will hurt their feelings is codependence.   Reacting because you don't trust yourself to set boundaries when you need to - means that you will never learn how to set boundaries in an emotionally intimate relationship.  If a person keeps reacting between extremes - not even considering the possibility of involvement or diving head first into involvement with someone who will repeat the same old dynamics - it will just reinforce the black and white messages.  All men are jerks and no healthy relationship is possible - or there is something terribly wrong with me and I am incapable of a healthy relationship.  It is only through having enough courage, and faith in the process, to explore the gray area, that it is possible to learn to play in the gray area that is life.

I haven't found anyone who has been willing to do that recently.  The women I have gotten honest with went away. 

The woman I refer to above who triggered these issues for me recently, went away also.  She was someone who lived about 4 hours from here - so not completely geographically unavailable.  She was someone who I had spent some time with in person several times - so have had some energetic experience of.  She was someone who I spent some time and energy with on the phone, developing some emotional intimacy.  But when I felt the relationship had reached the point where I needed to get honest, in order for me to avoid my old patterns - she felt betrayed and disappeared.

However, in the perfect unfolding of the Universes plan, several days before that happened, I heard from someone who ran away several years ago.  She has done much healing in the time since, and has opened up communication.  There is probably not any chance that she and I will become romantically involved - but she pushes those buttons for me so would be a great person to explore with.  Rather she will have the courage and faith to do that, I don't know yet - I hope so.

Several other possible candidates have crossed my radar screen since then.  I don't know what the Universe's plan for me is, but it appears I am going to get a chance to learn some more in this area.  More will be revealed.  That is more than enough about this subject for now.   6-10-01


Did you catch it? The victim stuff.  Poor me, I am just being honest and everyone runs away.  Gag me with a spoon!  What a pile of bull pippy!

The Truth is, I was repeating my patterns on a more subtle level.  I was protecting myself from exploring emotional intimacy and my pain around issues of deprivation by completely isolating myself once more.

My road had not just gotten narrower - though lord knows that is the Truth - I had closed the gate and filled the moat.

The things I said above, about how I need to be able to explore emotional intimacy with someone who pushes my buttons in order to heal and learn - are very much the Truth.   But I had not really gotten that clear about what was necessary until I wrote this.  In the comfortable rut that I was cruising along in, choosing to be unconscious to a great deal to these issues, I was not forced to get honest with myself about what was really happening.

I have often said to people, that the only reason to do the inner child healing is if we are interacting with other human beings.  If we are on top of the mountain meditating we don't need to worry about being out among them.

I have, effectively, been on top of the mountain meditating.  And it has been a glorious and wonderful vacation!

But the Universe pulled my covers.  The teacher who came into my life for a short time - the woman I was talking to on the phone - said some things that resonated so strongly I couldn't ignore them.

I was defining romantic relationship as one where I dive into the deep water and completely immerse myself.  I was viewing my needs for emotional intimacy and romantic connection from the black and white perspective.  That meant; ignore it or leap into the deep end.  Since I was coming from that perspective, it meant that I wasn't being honest when I told a woman that I was attracted to her, and just needed to tell her that to change my old patterns - it was in fact a form of manipulation, of dishonesty.

Empowering a black and white perspective - by not being conscious of what options 2 through 9 could look like - set me up to be dishonest with myself and any woman I interacted with at this level.  By not being clear with myself on what the options 2 through 9 were, I was limiting the options to 1 or 10.  The only options I was looking at were available or unavailable.  Effectively I was telling her that I wanted to develop a romantic relationship.  I was not conscious of that - but they may have been able to pick up on it.  It may be that some of those women who went away were not just reacting to their defenses - but were also sensing that I was being dishonest on some level. 

My definition and perspective of an emotionally intimate relationship with a woman was effectively being defined in black and white terms.  A woman was either unavailable or available to me.  That meant an available woman would need to be available on all levels - including romantic and sexual - or she would fall into the unavailable category.  In being limited to black and white, I was not available for any type of emotionally intimate relationship except romantic.  I was protected from any type of relationship that would not lead to leaping into the deep end without looking.  Since I was being discerning enough to choose women who had some recovery and knew better than to leap in, I was protected from having to take any real risks.

A perfect codependent defense.  Poor me, I am alone, and it isn't my fault.  I was deluding myself that I was available when in Truth I was not.  I was protected from taking the risk of developing emotional intimacy with any woman because of the black and white rut I was empowering.  And I was creating an emotional space where I felt victimized by their unavailability.

Two hearts with an arrow through them symbolizing both Love and heartbreak.
At this point yesterday I wrote some things about what I need to do to shift out of this black and white perspective and start to explore the gray area.  I don't feel comfortable with it now.  I think when I wrote it, I had a specific person in mind - which makes it manipulation.

I need to do some more processing - especially in light of what I realized just below.  I am in the middle of this right now and don't have a good perspective so I am going to stop.   This layer of the onion is not completely pealed yet.  More is being revealed - and there is more writing I need to do - but not here.  This Newsletter is finito.

It is, of course, a really good thing that I am now looking at this area and these issues.  It definitely does not feel good.  I know that I need to clear up my relationship to myself in regard to these issues or I will not ever have a chance to have a healthy relationship.  I need to keep reminding myself that there just might be a pony someplace in this pile of fertilizer that the Universe just dumped on me.

Robert  ~  6-15-01

More keeps being revealed

As I am putting the final touches on this Newsletter on June 15th so I can post it, I had another insight into why I have been so terrified of intimacy.  It was not just the shameful unworthiness that would cause a woman to go away, that was so painful.  It wasn't abandonment that hurt so much - it was the betrayal, which I felt was the consequence, the punishment.  I am sobbing as I get in touch with the pain of that little boy who felt like he was punished for that unworthiness.

The excruciating pain of finding my fiancé in bed with my best friend was the proof of, and felt like punishment for, that unworthiness.  It was only in recovery when dealing with my emotional incest issues, that I realized how my mother had betrayed me.  She always told me how wonderful I was, how special and gifted - she acted as if the world revolved around me.  But she never protected me, or herself, from my father.  My mother was my first love.  She was my Goddess.  The fact that she allowed my father to terrify and traumatize me - she who was perfect in the eyes of that little boy - obviously meant there was something wrong with me. 

I got in touch with the fact that my mother betrayed me years ago.  What I had never seen before today, was the connection between the two betrayals - and the common theme. 

My fiancé's betrayal was just a repeat of my earliest experience of loving a woman.  Both situations involved betrayal by the primary woman in my life, and the primary man.  The excruciating pain I experienced as a young adult was only a fraction of the devastation felt by that little boy.

That poor little boy.  His first experience of love, the first loves of his life - his God and Goddess - punished him.  Terror of intimacy is a pretty appropriate response.  I have some work to do with this issue.

Two hearts with an arrow through them symbolizing both Love and heartbreak.
The principle behind the first step, and the foundation of the twelve step, or any Spiritual program, is self-honesty.  If we are not being honest with ourselves, then we are not capable of being honest with anyone.  It is vital to start stripping away the layers of denial, self-delusion, disassociation, magical thinking, victim thinking, blame, resentment, and dishonesty that we learned to protect ourselves with in childhood.  Again, it is not shameful or bad that we have used these behavioral and emotional defenses to protect our self - it is because we were wounded in a variety of ways in childhood. 
1, 2, 3, and a 1, 2, 3 - The first three steps (article in Joy2MeU Journal)
Two hearts with an arrow through them symbolizing both Love and heartbreak.

Major Breakthrough - May 16, 2001

The processing that I did in this Newsletter has opened me to a major breakthrough in my recovery adventure.  I was paying attention and all the Universe had to do was send a couple of messages for me to take action.  I processed through the levels, discovered the denial and dishonesty - and I owned it, without any shame or judgment of myself.  I also got in touch with a facet of my early childhood experience that allowed me a deeper understanding and a level of forgiveness and understanding more profound than any before it. 

My willingness to own it and manifest it into the world evidently allowed me to reach critical mass in relationship to this breakthrough in record time.  I woke up this morning to discover that I had experienced a major paradigm shift.  I woke up this morning a more mature, more grounded, more confident, and wiser person than when I went to bed. 

This is sooooooooooooo cool.  The coming weeks are going to be very exciting as I explore this new, larger paradigm - and see how my new perspectives change my relationships with everything.  There is, of course, some more grief work to do - and at least one place that scares me a lot, that I am going to need to go to - but I shot right through the tunnel on this road faster than I ever have in my recovery process.  There will be more tunnels coming, but I am very excited to explore this new dimension I have just entered. 

Just thought I would let you all know. ;-)  ~  Robert

Click here to go to Update for August 2001.
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