"We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships in the same way that we are set up to fail in life - by being taught false beliefs about who we are and why we are here in human body, false beliefs about the meaning and purpose of this dance of life."
Codependence is a dis-ease of reaction. As long as we are in reaction we are being a victim. We are not owning our power if we are reacting. Many of us have reacted to being hurt in Romantic Relationships by going to the other extreme - overreacting to the point where we spent many years out of relationship. Then we try a relationship again and have another disaster because we are reacting to our childhood programming and we again react to our reaction by overreacting to the other extreme. In Recovery we are working on getting the pendulum swing smaller and smaller - finding the middle ground, the place of balance.
Overreacting to our patterns is just as dysfunctional as reacting to the wounds that caused the patterns. If we discover a pattern - say, that we leave relationships before we can be left - and we overreact and decide to stick it out in the next relationship no matter what, that can lead to us accepting a lot of abuse in the name of recovery. If we are in reaction and trying to figure out what is right and wrong - we are giving power to the disease.
There are no mistakes only lessons - which are painful but not that painful if we are not judging and shaming ourselves. 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 most painful.
We are programmed to believe that making a "mistake" is horribly shameful. We are programmed to believe that if we do not find "Happily-ever-after" in a Romantic Relationship then we have made a mistake, or something is wrong with us.
When a relationship doesn't work out we torture ourselves with recriminations about what we did "wrong" or what is "wrong" with us. We rip ourselves for the shame of "failing."
"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."
Codependence Recovery is not self-help. We are being guided. The Force is with us!
Romantic Relationships are part of the curriculum in this school of Spiritual Evolution - not the place we find happily ever after. Life is a journey - it is not about reaching a destination.
It was not our fault. We were set up to fail in Romantic Relationships. It is very important to forgive ourselves - not just intellectually, but to actually go back to the wounded parts of our self and change our relationship with our self. We cannot Love someone else in a healthy way until we learn to Love ourselves - and we cannot love our self without owning all of the parts of us.
We can access our Higher Self to be a Loving Parent to the wounded parts of our self. That Loving Adult within us can set a boundary with the Critical Parent to stop the shame and judgment and can then Lovingly set boundaries with whatever part of us is reacting so that we can find some balance - not overreact or under react out of out fear of overreacting.
We need to establish Loving on-going relationships with the wounded parts of us in order to be able to stop reacting out of our wounds and our shame. The process of learning how to set internal boundaries is the single most powerful method I have ever seen or heard of for Learning to Love our self. Once we start Loving, honoring, and respecting our self then we have a chance to be available in a healthy way for a Loving Romantic Relationship.
We learn who we are as emotional beings from the role modeling of our parents and the adults around us. I have never had an emotionally honest male role model in my life. I am having to become my own role model for what emotional honesty looks like in a man.
Romance means nothing without emotional intimacy. "In - to - me - see" We can not share our self with another being unless we can see into our self. As long as I couldn't be emotionally intimate with myself, I was incapable of being emotionally intimate with another human being.
It is absolutely vital to learn how to be emotionally honest with ourselves. It is impossible to have a Truly successful Romantic Relationship without emotional honesty. (Truly successful being used here to mean: in balance and harmony between the physical, emotional, mental, and Spiritual levels of being.) Sex can ultimately be an empty, barren animal coupling - involving physical pleasure but really having little to do with Love - without emotional & Spiritual connection.
This results in one of the major problem areas of many relationships. Without emotional intimacy many women get turned off to sex and withhold because their emotional needs aren't being met - and men get angry because they don't even have a clue of what women are asking for.
"Traditionally in this society women were taught to be codependent - that is take their self-definition and self-worth from their relationships - with men, while men have been taught to be codependent on their success/career/work. That has changed somewhat in the past twenty or thirty years - but is still part of the reason that women have more of a tendency to sell their souls for relationships than men do."
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!
It is not women's fault. It is also not men's fault. It is a set up.