The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship Facet # 4

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.

"Unfortunately, in sharing this information I am forced to use language that is polarized - that is black and white.

When I say that you cannot Truly Love others unless you Love yourself - that does not mean that you have to completely Love yourself first before you can start to Love others. The way the process works is that every time we learn to Love and accept ourselves a little tiny bit more, we also gain the capacity to Love and accept others a little tiny bit more."

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls


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.

"The dysfunctional dance of Codependence is caused by being at war with ourselves - being at war within.

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We are at war with ourselves because we are judging and shaming ourselves for being human. We are at war with ourselves because we are carrying around suppressed grief energy that we are terrified of feeling. We are at war within because we are "damming" our own emotional process - because we were forced to become emotionally dishonest as children and had to learn ways to block and distort our emotional energy.

We cannot learn to Love ourselves and be at peace within until we stop judging and shaming ourselves for being human and stop fighting our own emotional process, until we stop waging war on ourselves."

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

"The message that you shouldn't do it because it will cause conflict with your spouse is probably not for your Highest good. If taking care of your self causes conflict with your spouse then you may need to take another look at the relationship - either by yourself or hopefully with him to see if the conflict can be mediated (setting boundaries in a relationship is about 95% negotiation - boundaries for the most part aren't rigid - some are, like it is not ok to hit me or call me certain names or cheat on me, etc. - but most boundaries are a matter of negotiation, which of course involves communication.) As I have mentioned communication is really difficult. Because we all have a little child inside of us who learned that it is shameful to be wrong or make a mistake - too often in relationships the attempts at communication end up as a power struggle between who is right and who is wrong. One person takes the others feedback as an attack and then attacks back. Again the wrong question is being asked - a relationship is a partnership, an alliance, not some game with winners and losers. When the interaction in a relationship becomes a power struggle about who is right and who is wrong then there are no winners."

Facet # 4 - Emotional Dishonesty - Emotional Intimacy

"We are set up to be emotionally dysfunctional by our role models, both parental and societal. We are taught to repress and distort our emotional process. We are trained to be emotionally dishonest when we are children".

"In this society, in a general sense, the men have been traditionally taught to be primarily aggressive, the "John Wayne" syndrome, while women have been taught to be self-sacrificing and passive. But that is a generalization; it is entirely possible that you came from a home where your mother was John Wayne and your father was the self-sacrificing martyr.

The point that I am making is that our understanding of Codependence has evolved to realizing that this is not just about some dysfunctional families - our very role models, our prototypes, are dysfunctional.

Our traditional cultural concepts of what a man is, of what a woman is, are twisted, distorted, almost comically bloated stereotypes of what masculine and feminine really are. A vital part of this healing process is finding some balance in our relationship with the masculine and feminine energy within us, and achieving some balance in our relationships with the masculine and feminine energy all around us. We cannot do that if we have twisted, distorted beliefs about the nature of masculine and feminine".

Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

"The first long term relationship (for me 2 years was very long term because of my particular terror of intimacy) I got into in recovery I realized that for me to set boundaries or get angry in an intimate relationship felt to my inner child like I was being a perpetrator - which was the thing (being like my father) that I had hated so much and vowed I would never be - so I had to learn to let my inner child know that it was ok to say no and have boundaries in an intimate relationship and that it didn't mean I was being a perpetrator."

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".

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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.

"I also want to add here that one of the damaging concepts that I was taught as a child is that you can not be angry at someone you love. My mother once in my recovery said to me directly "I can't be angry at you, I love you." (That she has lived for 50 years with a man whose only emotion is anger, who raged all the time, makes a very sad statement about her lack of self worth.)

If you cannot be angry at someone you cannot be emotionally intimate with that person.

Any friend who I cannot get angry at (or vise versa) and then at some later point communicate with and work through whatever issue is up - is not really a friend. It was very important for me to learn how to fight in a romantic intimate relationship (I have some ages of my inner child that thought that if I stood up for my self she would go away.) It is important to learn to fight "fair" (that is, not say those really hurtful things that can't be taken back. I found that I could stand up for myself and fight fair even when the other person did not fight fair.) But unless we can express our anger - as well as our hurt, fear, and sadness - to another person we can not be emotionally intimate with them.

It can be wonderfully magical in a relationship when both people are in recovery working on healing their childhood wounds. An argument over one of the stupid, seemingly meaningless things that couples often argue about can turn into a mutual grieving session - talk about powerful intimacy.

Example: A fight starts, angry words are exchanged, then (sometimes at the time one of the people can say "How old are your feeling right now?" or sometimes after time has passed, sometimes after a "time out" that is structured into the relationship) one of the individuals says I feel about 7! What happened when you were 7? etc. - and you can end up figuring out that the tone of voice one person used pushed a button about how Mom used to talk to them in a way that made them feel stupid - and when the first person reacted to that it pushed a button for the other person about how Dad used to do whatever. And you both get to cry for the ways you were abused or discounted or invalidated.

It is very important to remember that the Universe works on the principle of cause and effect - our reactions do not come our of the blue, they have a cause. What we are trying to learn to do is stop reacting to the now out of the past. We can do that by tracking down the cause instead of getting all tied up in the symptom (whatever started the argument.) It is dysfunctional to react to the now out of the past because our reaction is only a little bit about what is happening now."

next: Facet # 5 Sexuality

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 7). The Heart Break of Romantic Relationship Facet # 4, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 27 from

Last Updated: August 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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