When I Let Co-Dependency Sneak In To My Romantic Life

We don’t start out co-dependent.  It isn’t a natural trait.  It is something we learn, and that is modeled to us.  It is a way we learn to survive and cope sometimes too. “The Codependent has adapted their behaviour in order to get their needs met in a setting where someone they cared about was unable or unwilling to take care of themselves and their own problems. After progressively taking on the care taking role the Codependent somehow forgets to look after their own needs and deal with their own problems. As a result even if they physically break free from the person who is dependent on them they take their Codependency forward into future relationships.” – Basics of Codependency

at least you are all comfortable: I started dating when I was 13.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had good filters back then.  I would begin dating someone, and fairly quickly, know that I did not feel like it was the right relationship.  I would feel icky when I was with them.  And so I would end the relationship.  Often, the man would hang on, or hang around.  I would begin to feel guilty.  Who was I to hurt this man? or the next? or the next? I dated many men for short periods of time.

Obviously something was wrong with me.  I was not good at commitment.  My standards were too high.  I was judgmental.  I needed to be more accepting, tolerant and open to love.

It did not occur to me that I was exercising good judgement.  That I was respecting myself.

These Modern Dames are the strong independent women who refuse to be a victim of anything. They hold their fate in their own hands. They refuse to be a Damsel in Distress or play off the victim card as a way to receive “equality” without the accountability of true equality.:

““There’s a side of him that’s so loving and caring. When he hugs me and doesn’t let go, and how we laugh…we’re so good together! And then, sometimes, he acts so strangely. He withdraws. Then he’s back…I don’t know what to do.”

We give so many chances to people who aren’t worthy of it.

We overlook problems and let things slide.

We make excuses for non-excusable behaviors.

We give a lot of bad things a pass because of the apparent good ones.

Why?

Because someone has a kind and affectionate side, too?

Because they tell you nice things and sometimes make you feel special?

We miss seeing the forest for the trees.

If a person has a loving side but also a jackass side, it should be a huge red flag for you. Their inconsistency should sound a massive alarm.

When dating someone, look at the bigger picture. You need to see the good and the bad—the complete deal you’re getting. Before that, decide what part of the deal is unacceptable to you and you won’t turn your head away from.

Not calling you, treating you with disrespect or neglecting you should definitely be on that list.” – Elephant Journal

Instead, I learned to accept being treated disrespectfully by people, and to find ways to explain away their behaviour.  I was proud of how tolerant and loving and accepting I had become. It was a sign of spiritual growth, wasn’t it?

And so, in three significant relationships, I allowed myself to be treated disrespectfully, felt the pain, and added to it by judging myself for not doing a better job at accepting him.

That is not to say that any of those men were bad people, or that I blame them.  Only I can be responsible for my boundaries.  Only I can be responsible for how I allow others to treat me, and how I respond in a relationship where my needs, wishes, and value are not respected. I know that each man might find a partner who does not find those behaviours that were problems for me to be concerning in a different relationship.  

What are my boundaries in relationship? I find myself echoing the same ones in the article.

“Boundary One:

I never play games

I am done with playing games, calculating who called who first, how many times, playing hot and cold, he wants me but he’s making me wait, he’s cool, one day he’s “all in” and the next one “out”…

I will not show interest in any man who doesn’t show genuine interest in me.

The moment I recognize he’s playing games, he’s out.

Boundary Two:

I will be treated with respect

I want a man who proves that he respects me as a person and as a woman. He respects my feelings and my needs. He listens and treats me with respect. Not only that; he also respects his word. He respects our agreements and values our time together. When he says he’ll be there, he’s there. Any sign of disrespect makes me nip the relationship in the bud.

Boundary Three:

I have zero tolerance for Casanova behavior or me being “the other woman.”

No, no, no and no. I will not look at you ogling other women, flirting on every corner, or having 30 different female friends who are all your “super-close friends” (but whose names you barely remember) and with whom you’re very physical, touchy and tender.

Yes, I want you to treat other women with respect too—but not with an “I’d like to bang you” respect. There’s a clear difference between the two, and we women see it.

Oh, and yes—you already have someone? It’s complicated? Please, throw my number away.”

I am incredibly valuable.  More importantly: my life is full and rich.  If you do not add to my life, I don’t need you.  I will not be in a relationship out of need.  I do not need you to complete me.  I have in my life only those who I want.

My Value Is Not In My Body

To you I sway like sweet waves of honey,and though the way my hips move to unheard music has you hypnotized,there’s more to me than curves to trace with your hands.

My value isn’t in the skin underneath your fingertips as you reach out to touch what tempts you.

Lingering there will not collect my worth, and you cannot kiss me enough to make it known to me.

I do not find value in your arms,

comfort, yes,

arousal

yesss

oh yes

but my space in your bed is not my worth.

Nor is my space in your heart.

Love me.

Please do.

Love me for my body

and the way it fits in the grooves of yours and the way we glide together into each parcel of space.

Love me for the familiar scent of my

skin when you

close in on my neck.

Love me for the heart that

is pressed to yours

and the love you know it has for you—

not because I have told you

but from the undeniable richness of

our colliding energy,

the way your bones know the elixir

of their own marrow.

Love that it is safe here

in Us

and our unwavering honesty—

never has anything we cannot see

or touch

been so true.

Love me for the way I tease your mind

with my thoughts,

and how our dueling perspectives

amplify our senses.

But know that no amount of

attraction will detail my worth.

That while you place value on me,

and I on you

this love is not an exchange.

I do not give you my body,

touch my lips to yours,

feel my bones quake

because to be held by you

makes me worth something.

Your approval

is flattering and

your agreement

fiercely connecting

but I am not validated by it.

I am worth just as much with any of that as with nothing at all;

you see,

my value,

is in my Self

and the purity of my being alive at all—just as yours

should be to you.

An Empowered Woman is a woman who is in tune with her Wild Soul and lives from her heart. She values her intuition and knows her medicine is a powerful force to be reckoned with. She rediscovers herself in her conscious reconnection to the Divine. She transforms from the inside out and is a light of hope helping inspire other women's creativity and spirituality. She lives in her uniqueness as a Modern Day GODDESS...:

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Meet Me There

tropical-island-beach-photos-956x470Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. – Rumi

About a year ago, at a workshop on love, consciousness and tantric philosophy, I was introduced to a personally revolutionary idea: That boundaries are about where we meet, not places we need to defend. This was big to me because I had been told I needed to establish better boundaries, hold my boundaries, etc.  While that advice was helpful, the context of a place where we meet instead of a place to defend made boundaries a loving thing.

“Love can’t exist without boundaries, even with your children. It’s easy to understand external boundaries as your bottom line. Think of rules and principles you live by when you say what you will or won’t do or allow.” – What are personal boundaries? Often, when I consider boundaries, it feels like something I should have done and didn’t – so I am some how to blame. I have learned that my anger is triggered most often when my boundaries are not respected.  So I feel like I need to know what my boundaries are so I can set relationships up for success.  But how do you do that? It seems like a vicious circle: I know my boundaries when they are violated.

“Anger often is a signal that action is required. If you feel resentful or victimized and are blaming someone or something, it might mean that you haven’t been setting boundaries. If you feel anxious or guilty about setting boundaries, remember, your relationship suffers when you’re unhappy. Once you get practice setting boundaries, you feel empowered and suffer less anxiety, resentment, and guilt. Generally, you receive more respect from others and your relationships improve.”-What are personal boundaries?

The simple reframe of where am I willing to meet others feels less like I am wrong, and more like I am acting from my space of awareness.  I can think of ways in which that is true of me.  For example, I know that each individual holds a different world view, and the places in which we share it, we will usually connect.  I remember being in the elevator with a woman on pay day at work.  For simple chit chat, she noted that pay day Fridays were good days.  I agreed, and began thinking of how great having a regular pay check is, and how much gratitude I have to my financial freedom. When I turned towards the woman to make a comment about that, she spoke first and said, “Of course, it is all spent before I get it.  There is never enough.”  I shut up, and felt a number of things.  I felt bad for her.  I felt guilty that I make enough money.  I felt afraid that maybe I don’t really make enough money and I am too poor a financial manager to know it.

When I look back, I see that this is about boundaries, and it is also about our personal story.  I have done enough of Byron Katie’s The Work that I can now unravel all those feelings that arose.  They simply don’t arise that way for me now.  The way I view the boundary component is that I simply could not meet that woman from where she was at.  I could see it.  I can respect it as her story.  But I cannot relate to her there. I cannot meet her there.

How many times have I let go of where I am at to meet another? How often have I based my relationship on how well I could meet another where he was at? The answer is I very rarely based a romantic relationship on meeting me where I was at.  I also then put the condition on the other that since I had bent over so far to meet them in their world, they should therefore be grateful and be committed to me. I want to vomit when I lean in to the energy of that dynamic.

Every time I release a layer of ego, and can see it happening, I have an unparalleled joy arise in me. I see the divine movement, the loving consciousness gently shifting me towards living from love and joy all the time.  And I am meeting Me there, too.

Unconditional love is not unconditional permission

image

Once, I took pride in saying I would hurt myself before I would hurt another person. It seemed like a high value to hold. It was very much influenced by my interpretation of Christianity. It was a blend of martyrdom and co-dependency.

I know it is normal to reflect and replay moments of life in our heads.  Recently, my dreams have been filled with replaying past relationships.  I feel betrayed by my subconscious: since I won’t feed the grooves of Sanskara when I am awake, they are surfacing in my dream state. 

There is a theme in the dreams of how I disappointed my partners. In every dream, He asks me to do or accept something about Him that causes me pain. I say No, and He gives me a look of sad disappointment.  I wake up feeling like a failure. 

In Satsang last night, my teacher said something that helped to soothe my mind. “Unconditional love is not unconditional permission.” – Christopher Hareesh Wallis

I am not sure how I envisioned unconditional love, but I am sure it had elements of unconditional acceptance.  And that unconditional acceptance looked like unconditional permission in my head.

I have beaten myself up for what I allowed in my relationships, but I have equally beaten myself up for what I did in my relationships.  I feel such sorrow for the pain I have caused.

My deepest truth is love and accepting what is. What has been was perfect. I must gently show compassion to myself for what I have learned. I accept all that is, including myself. Somewhere in there is the knowledge that I am not this personality  or this ego.  These are experiences in my awareness.

I love all that is. I stay open, and the energy flow is amazing.  So let’s see how my dreams speak to me tonight.

Pint Sized Priestess on Boundaries

Pint sized priestess was crying at the end of her first skiing lesson.  “Mommy, everyone else can turn and I can’t”.

As I cuddled her, child after child in her class clustered around in concern. “Why is she crying?”

“She’s having trouble turning,” I replied. And nearly every child offered to teach her.

Later, pint sized priestess told me she didn’t want me to answer them next time. I didn’t understand why, since the kids were so kind.

“Mommy, just because they ask, you don’t have to tell them everything.  It’s ok to tell them its not their business you know.”

I felt proud of her ability to talk it through with me, but I admired her ability to identify and express her boundaries even more.

Do We Really Need Boundaries?

purple waterlilyI am in love.  Totally, completely, whole heartedly in love…with tantra.  I have been studying it for a year now, but I would say it has really become my home in the last few months.  And I think that is because I have found a good teacher.  I have been studying with Christopher Hareesh Wallis through the virtual courses.  I listen to most of the recordings 5 or 6 times, and each time I find something new that completely and totally makes me vibrate with new awareness.

But the falling in love is really falling in love with me.  And then with everything else.

One of the most important aspects of tantra for me personally is coming to accept and love myself as an individualized aspect of the divine.  I can let go of all the ways in which I am not good enough.  I can breathe into my heart and return to me in a few breaths.  And I can finally stop suffering at the whim of my egoic mind.

On my journey, the idea of having boundaries became important.  Psychology tells us that a healthy person (a healthy ego?) has appropriate boundaries.  I have spent time reviewing my relationships and drawing boundaries.  And I have been on the receiving end of people who have felt they had to draw boundaries with me.

Occasionally I equate judging a person with the need to establish a boundary.  Recently it occurred to me that the need for boundaries is dualistic and denies my spiritual truth.  Instead, what is being triggered? What does that boundary artificially give me instead of taking on the challenge of processing the energy trigger from that person?

If I go into that space, where I suddenly see the world in a more real way than it usually exists for me, I realize that boundaries are ways of living a preference.  If I don’t like the feeling of something, I can set a boundary.  End a relationship.  Instead of letting the energy flow through me and pass away, leaving insight and awareness, I can close up the energy, block it out, or in, and feel self satisfied that I did the right thing.  I set a boundary.

unityTo me, that is about liking, not loving.  If I can accept what is as it is, I don’t need a boundary.  In some way, boundaries are meant to protect the ego, not the soul.  While I am not saying it is a requirement to be a martyr to the energy demands of every person we encounter, I think that as I settle in to that truer self, I become less concerned about those boundaries.  I become more concerned with the energy pattern in me, and in how I can see the beauty of the divine being reflected in the other person.

One day, I will probably understand that the other is not other at all.  I am not quite there yet.  But to attain that tantric principle, it is highly unlikely that I will get to that understanding by establishing boundaries.

I trust you but…

blindfoldedI had the opportunity to speak frankly with a man involved in BDSM. I confess this is an aspect of sexuality with which I have limited knowledge. In fact, probably everything I know is of the 50 Shades of Grey school! Our conversation surprisingly focused on the issue of trust. He told me that it was deeply connecting and profoundly honest practicing BDSM because it meant you were willing to completely trust another person. I remember at the time saying that I could never trust a person that much. He pointed out to me that touch was one of the most honest ways to communicate, that you cannot lie with touch. And still I felt resistance. Of course, at the time, my issues around betrayal did not have a voice, and maybe that is why this topic is of interest to me today. touching-1

“In the sadomasochism world there are no specific genders or sexual orientations involved. Men and women of different ages as well as gay men and women and bisexual women and men can be involved. There is however a trust that needs to be there when practicing sadomasochism, trust is one of the main aspects of the sexual fantasies. If there is no trust involved, sadomasochism can be extremely dangerous and not pleasurable for the person being dominated. When practicing sadomasochism many of the people involved use “safe words” to determine when the pain is too much or when to stop, this helps them to realize that the pain is no longer pleasurable and does become uncomfortable and it ends when the safe words are spoken to ensure that nobody gets hurt.” – Jeanne Kerns Wouldn’t it be great if we had safe words in relationships that helped us end that which is uncomfortable? That makes sure no one gets hurt?

happy_note_venetian_masks-1709-1In one of my counselling classes, a professor told me that we use the phrase “I trust you” as too much of a blanket statement. We really need to finish the sentence. “I trust you to take care of me…I trust you to manage my money…I trust you to tell me the truth…” and so on. At the time, this seemed like important advice. We should not give out blanket trust, I understood from him, and in understanding our limitations to how far we trust, we build healthy boundaries. And psychology seemed like a good source to learn about trust.

Today I came across this quotation by one of the founding fathers in psychology, and I am not sure that psychology actually can teach me what I want to know about trust. “You can learn to trust someone perfectly–but that’s risky. Even highly trustworthy people can always change. You can most probably, but not certainly, trust people if they have been regularly honest up to now. That is, if they are not too emotionally disturbed and if they subscribe to usual moral rules. Even when you cannot trust some people, you can teach yourself to feel only healthily sorry and disappointed about their behavior but not unhealthily enraged and self-pityingly about them as persons. Trust yourself to stop damning people as a whole, no matter how badly they now behave. Then you may–yes, may–help them to become more trustworthy.” – Albert Ellis, PH.D. President, The Albert Ellis Institute. Given that quotation, I would be unwilling to trust myself, let alone anyone else.

I find that the alignment between people’s words and actions is incredibly important to me, and I struggle when it does not occur. For some reason, there is something in that lack of integrity that speaks to my Shadow self. I try really hard to be honest all the time. I try really hard to look at myself honestly, and achieve that level of inner alignment. So what do I do when someone I love acts lovingly but the words do not align? Or when the words align, but the actions do not? I asked my counsellor what do I trust in those situations. And as the Magus once said, actions are a certainty and words are ideas.

But, what if there is a deeper trust, that does not depend on conditions, does not depend on the outer world at all? Here is what Osho says:

“Somehow you have got a wrong idea about trust. Trust is not in someone, it is not a relationship. Trust is a quality in you. A man of trust… it does not mean in what he trusts, but he surrendertrusts; that is his innocence. Even if he is cheated because of his trust, that does not matter, because trust is more valuable than any small thing that he has been cheated of. You can take everything from him, but you cannot take his trust. Trust is your inner growth, your consciousness at its peak.”

What an idea…trust being me, and not a condition. Trust is a form of surrender, then, to truth and consciousness. If I am Divine, the_innocence_of_youth_bwhat is there to doubt? What could I possibly need to fear?

Osho says: “A man who trusts simply trusts. And each time he is cheated because of his trust, his trust is not destroyed, it is strengthened. Trust is one of the great qualities of your being. So think of it as a quality of your being, and then you will not ask the question, “Does everything have to be accepted?” There is no question about it. The man of trust simply lives out of his trust; whatever happens does not matter. If he is being deceived continuously, then too, it does not matter. Nothing happens to his trust. His trust is something invincible, and that gives integrity.”

love-risesSo what if that feeling of mistrust in others, fear of misalignment, is just me? What if it is a signpost that I am not releasing myself into the flow of love that surrounds me? What if the lack of trust is only a way of the Divine shining a light on a deeper truth? Recently I discovered how incredible it feels to release anger and forgive deeply. I would like to replicate that feeling with many relationships. And now, I believe that if I can trust as a truth about me, I will know even greater freedom.

Emotional Maturity and Healthy Healing

The addictive personality is a personality that hasn’t matured. When we come to address healing, a key question will be how to promote maturity in ourselves or in others whose early environment sabotaged healthy emotional growth. – Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
 
In one of my earliest blogs, inspired by the play Medicine, I referred to my inner tension around the use of drugs even if it is for consciousness raising.  I said that I struggle with some very important people in my life who have no such issue.  My own experiences in a suicide prevention center, and in the psychological research, convince me of the danger.  How do I get those two worlds to live together?Sad energy
 
I was challenged by my Magus to explore what it is in me that is triggered by this conversation, instead of trying to deal with the facts and research.  As I reflected, I realized it triggers my own addictive personality, which is in healing right now.  I have never used drugs, never tried a single drug, and didn’t drink more than a sip or two every few months until the last few years. But I have vehement repulsion to substance use of any kind.
 
My binging history is characteristic of addiction.  Like any addict, I used food to cope and medicate myself.  And since it didn’t noticeably alter my state of consciousness or decision-making or judgement, it was a very acceptable method.  But, it is still a symptom of my addictive personality.  If it weren’t for counseling and for the naturopath, I am not sure how easily I would have moved through my cravings for carbohydrates.
 
My family history has alcoholism and abuse in it, as does that of Bhikku.  It spurred the co-dependent relationship we formed.  Each of us have some aspect of addictive personality too.  And it just isn’t possible to heal each other at this point.  And possibly that is the hardest thing of all.  My natural inclination is to want to help him, to carry him, and make it easy for everyone.  I have said many times I will hurt myself before I will hurt someone I love.  I have done that for many years now, and I am angry with myself about that.
 
energy artSo I have tried to blame Bhikku, blame our families, blame myself, etc, etc, etc.  That is normal, but the shooting tragedy last week also showed me how little I am interested in blame.  My Facebook response this week was “I don’t want to hear anymore about the gunman, his family, or the number of bullet holes in those tiny little innocent bodies. I want to hear about healing, about taking a close look at violence, tolerance, peace, and love for each other. I want to hear about how we move from a fear based culture to a love based world. I don’t want to know who is to blame. I want to hear about how we are changing.”  And that is true for me and Bhikku as well.
 
So, now I am flailing around wildly looking for my safety net.  I am worried about how much I lean on my Magus.  I am grateful for the support of my incredible friends.  It is so automatic and unexpected as each person reaches out to me – I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  How do I turn this support into a process of healthy emotional growth for me?  How do I ensure that my daughter does not carry this into her emotional worlds as a legacy of pain?
 
I think that the answer is partially in my experiences at Kundalini Dance.  On Friday, we worked with the crown chakra.  I felt the flow of the divine masculine and divine feminine.  In my process of dance, I healed two long-term physical issues.  First, my neck and shoulders conspire to create migraines in me that have only been controlled with chiropractic visits. I also pulled something in my right arm that reacted like frozen shoulder.  I have tried some yoga exercises and lots of massage to get past it, with small progress each time.  But in my work on Friday, both my neck and my arm are now totally mobile.  I have the mind-body healing potential in myself, and proved it.
 
So, how do I use that mind-body healing right now?  One thing is that I will be trying a sadness meditation soon, to sit with my sadness and develop emotional maturity around it.  It wasn’t so long ago that I could not cry at all.  Now, I cry daily – what progress! (Note the mix of sarcasm and real acknowledgement of progress). 
 energy love
I was accused of being selfish lately.  I suppose that is true to an extent: I am no longer carrying responsibility for anyone other than me, and possibly my child.  It would be normal for that change to elicit a feeling of “how could you?” when I violate expectations that have been set up over years.  I set the intention to end co-dependency in my relationships, and over the last few weeks that has meant the end of some relationships, and dramatic changes in others.  I am not sure if I am doing it right.  But I know that some of ending co-dependency is bearing the responsibility of MY choices, and my choices alone. 
 
I am afraid.  Not of the changes in the relationships – I can see the end states I want to move towards.  I am afraid of my addictive personality continuing to drive me and my choices.  I am afraid of hurting people and not being able to look myself in the mirror.  I am also maybe even more afraid of having this opportunity to live my life in a new way, and holding myself back because of my attachments to another person’s needs, desires, issues.  When is it loving to help and support, and when is it hurting myself?
 
So, I set the intent to the universe for healthy loving boundaries, and my best healing into emotional maturity.  I am so grateful for all these sign posts, and for the tantric thinking of my wholeness being revealed every day in every way.