Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light

Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life

Chapter 7: Levels of selfishness

"Being honest with our self about selfishness out of damaged ego self - owning it, learning to accept it without shame and judgment - is what allows us to start taking power away from it.   Denying that we have base ego centered motives is part of the dishonesty of codependency - is a reaction to toxic shame about being human.  Codependency is deluding ourselves into thinking that we are doing things for other people just out of the kindness of our hearts and are not expecting any payoff for what we are doing - it is emotionally and intellectually dishonest."

"We access the Source Energy, are connected to our Higher Power, internally - through our inner channel.  The outer / external dependence, the reversed focus of codependency, causes us to think that treating another person with respect and kindness earns us worth - proves to our self and others that we have worth.  This is reversed and dysfunctional in my opinion.

What I believe is healthy and functional is owning that we have worth as Magnificent Spiritual Beings having a human experience - and then we can see and honor other people because they are also Magnificent Spiritual Beings who have been wounded by this human experience.  It is by consciously owning that we have worth inherently - that we are children of God / The Goddess, part of The Great Spirit, extensions of The Universal Force - that we start treating others with respect and kindness because they are also manifestations of the Divine.

And Loving other wounded humans, treating them with respect and kindness, includes setting boundaries with them if their behavior is abusive.  We can Love their being while protecting our self from their behavior.  Allowing another human being to treat us with disrespect out of their unconsciousness is not Loving - it is enabling them to stay unconscious."

"I needed to get honest with myself in order to see the selfish motives.  Then I could start to see that the reason that I was being nice to someone was not just because I didn't want to hurt their feelings - it was much more about protecting myself.  It was what I learned to do in childhood to:  avoid confrontation;  keep someone from getting angry with me;  keep from being abandoned;  try to earn love;  etc.  My defense system was set up to protect me from doing things that I thought would cause me pain - like:  setting boundaries;  speaking my Truth;  asking for help;  being vulnerable;  etc.  So, there was a level of my motives that was about caring for others - but there were more levels that were selfish, were part of the survival programing my ego had adapted in childhood.  My behavior patterns were being driven by the emotional wounds and programming of childhood but I had to rationalize my behavior as only being about the level where I did care about others."

"My job is to show up for life today and pay attention.  Pay attention to what gets my attention without judging and shaming myself.  The Universe uses whatever works to get my attention and to motivate me to follow where it wants me to go.  The things that get my attention most effectively usually have to do with my human desires, with longings and unfulfilled needs - that is not shameful, it is human.   Follow where I am led and let go of the outcome.  Let go of assuming, interpreting, fortune telling, projecting my fantasy of where I was going to end up because of what got my attention."

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Included on this page are quotes from both Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls and from other copyrighted work by Robert Burney.  Online pages quoted within this chapter will be linked so that they open in a separate browser window - with the exception of any web articles referenced which are quite long, or for some other reason not conducive to internal linking.  Links will be provided at the bottom of this page to any such web pages.

This is Chapter 7 of a book being published online as it is written.  To find out more about the genesis of this work you can go to Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life: Author's Foreword

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light

Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life

Chapter 7: Multiple levels of selfishness

By Robert Burney

. . . . .  When I was being nice to people while still completely unconscious to my disease, it was in part because I am a good person, a nice person - a being with a True heart connection.  But I was blinded to my True Self by all the dysfunctional messages I had gotten in childhood.  Those messages were both directly stated - by my parents and teachers, by the Spiritually abusive lies of a shame-based religion, by other people, including other children - and indirect from:  the role modeling of the adults in my life;  from fairy tales, books, movies, songs, etc.;  from the interpretations of my undeveloped mind based upon how it felt to be a human child.  I suffered emotional trauma because of the behavior of the wounded human beings around me.  So my perspective of myself - as a physical, emotional, spiritual being - was distorted and warped.  I could not see myself clearly - so could not see life and other people clearly.

So, I was doing nice things for other people in part because of who I Truly am - but I had to lie to myself and tell myself that the only reason I was doing those things was because I was a nice person.  I was dishonest with myself about the fact that I had expectations of getting something in return - that I was in part at least, being manipulative.  That dishonesty led me to feeling like a victim of other people not doing what I wanted them to.  (see Serenity and Expectations.)

It was this dishonesty with self that kept me being a victim, a negative co-creator in my life.  When I got into recovery is when I started to make a transition to being a positive co-creator in my life.

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unhealthy selfish vs healthy selfish

Levels of Motivation

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Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light
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Go to Chapter 8: Codependents as Emotional Vampires - Published online September 8, 2002

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