EPISODE # 04 – ARE YOU CODEPENDENT OR NAH? – diving deep into relationship health, boundaries, intimacy, and resentment
- Published on: 27 January, 2020
- Last update: 20 May, 2020
THIS WEEK ON WHAT’S THE JUICE PODCAST…
Hey everyone! Welcome to Episode #04 of What’s the Juice? where we’re still digging deep into health… but this time, it’s strictly our emotional, mental and relationship health. It’s about to get JUICY.
My personal goal has always been to become a healthier person all around – healthier in terms of my habits, my diet, and perhaps most importantly, my behavior. Of course this includes the relationships I have with both myself and the people I love; how I treat them and how I speak to or treat myself. This will ultimately spill over into the physical as everything is a reflection – how you are in one area tends to have a domino effect on the rest.
Relationships of all sorts (familial, romantic, platonic, etc) impact and trigger us in ways that can make us feel unfamiliar to ourselves, and this undoubtedly impacts our quality of life as a whole. If you’ve ever felt trapped in a relationship, or felt deeply confused or hurt by another person’s actions. then you know the deeply resonant impact other people can have on our mental health and quality of life.
When our relationships are sick, we’re stressed and sick.
When our boundaries are violated over and over again, it can take a toll on us that goes far beyond the emotional realm. And when we are so fixated on caring for OTHERS, we can forget (or even avoid) taking care of ourselves.
In this episode, I’m sitting down with Tana Espino, who is a licensed therapist, relationship coach, and the creator of Love’s Hustle. Tana works with women and couples to deepen their values, strengthen their confidence, and get real about love. We’re going DEEP into the topic of codependency, which is a word that may seem too intense to be relevant, but is actually something so many of us (including with myself) struggle with in one way or another. It can be as simple as people-pleasing, having a lack of boundaries with others, relying on others to validate or soothe us, enabling others’ negative behaviors if it means they’ll stick around for you, believing others will change for you, or focusing on others to avoid the self.
This episode covers what SO MANY OF US want to know but may feel shame talking about… ‘cause how do you even word these questions? How can I self-soothe when I’m feeling unloved, unworthy, panicking and maybe unloading my insecurities on others? How can I talk to myself differently when I’m in that state of panic? How can I become more independent and less reliant on others for my own emotional comfort We’re going there today by answering all of the above and more.
(to read the full transcription of this episode, click HERE)
What is Codependency?
Codependency is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, friend, family member, etc. Think of it as “people addiction”, and part of that means valuing others’ comfort and emotions over your own. It involves putting your own needs at a lower priority than the needs of others, and perhaps changing your behavior to gain temporary emotional comfort or validation.
As women, we tend to lose ourselves in relationships by getting into them without truly knowing our own needs or wants. When we don’t know ourselves deeply enough, we can easily get lost in others – we begin to people please, get too hyper-focused on the relationship, we put our needs last, and the list goes on.
What does codependency look like?
Codependency is about control, even in the most innocent way: controlling or supporting others’ happiness in an attempt to secure your own. It can look like needing or expecting your partner to do something for you that you can do for yourself. It can be an unconscious or conscious manipulation.
** sacrificing yourself in order to make other people in your life happy (your partner, your family, your friends, your boss or coworkers)
** putting other people’s needs ahead of your own (sometimes you even believe you deserve to suffer / feel guilt which makes you betray yourself in order to keep others in your life)
** people pleasing
** feeling responsible for the well-being or actions of others
** not being able to say no even when you want to
** consciously or unconsciously trying to control the behavior of others
** seeking validation or approval from outside yourself, putting others’ opinions of you or your life’s choices above your own
** enabling others’ negative behavior if it means they are still connecting to you (in my family fighting and yelling was the only way we deeply connected; this is called connection-seeking even if it’s through an unproductive method)
** believing others will change for you
** focusing on others in order to avoid dealing with or even feeling your own emotions and so much more.
How does Codependency develop?
Codependency is often a learned behavior that begins in childhood, when there’s a lack of boundaries within our family dynamic. We learn as children that in order to receive love, we have to be hypersensitive to the emotional state of others around us. We then learn that if we act in ways that please the people around us, we too can feel at ease (even if only temporarily). Overall, it deals with a dependency on another person for your wellbeing, happiness, or sense of self worth. (The self worth is a BIG ONE here!)
How do we begin to move beyond codependency?
Ask yourself, what kind of relationship are you having with yourself? Are you able to validate yourself instead of looking/wanting/waiting/needing your partner to validate you? Re-parenting: talk to yourself in a positive, nurturing way. Connect with your feelings and don’t judge them. Identify and sit with your feelings even if it’s extremely uncomfortable. Ask yourself what YOU need rather than what others’ need in the moment.
The greatest form of self care you can engage in to break the cycle: is keeping promises to yourself. Be true to yourself. Be available to yourself. Set your boundaries with the way you treat yourself FIRST because that’s the way others will treat you.
So, What’s the Juice?
• Boundaries = using your voice. But in order to use your voice communicate your limits, you just KNOW your own limits first. Sitting with the self allows you to to feel the things you’re avoiding, and identify what you’ll allow/what you won’t. The biggest reason why we DON’T set boundaries is because we simply don’t know them.
• Anger is actually healthy, because it’s a biological mechanism that SHOWS us where our boundaries lie and when they’re being violated. Listen to it.
• What’s modeled for us as children can be formed into a belief we hold as adults. If your parents weren’t there for you physically or emotionally in childhood, this can translate to codependency in adult in relationships. We don’t know what’s stable and we want to hold on tight. It’s a survival mechanism.
• A big piece of codependency is trying to control other people (which of course, is external – the only control we really have is internal).
* The way to heal is to learn how to self-soothe internally. Can you be emotionally available for yourself?
• A lot of codependent people struggle with anxiety. It’s what leads us to reach for others. When you learn how to soothe anxiety and cope, you stop wanting to seek external stimulus as often.
• Empaths: Empathic and sensitive to people have often had a childhood where they had to spend energy trying to predict parents moods.
• If codependency was an equation, it would look something like this: if you’re not okay, then I’m not okay. So I better attempt to fix you so that the result will be that I feel okay. Seems transactional when you look at it that way, don’t you think?
Tana’s Three-Step Process (for changing our behavior and reparenting ourselves):
Ask yourself these three questions when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious….
1. What do I need to do right now for myself?
2. Is this action going to nourish me?
3. If it is, finish by honoring yourself and keeping that commitment to yourself (whether the need/action was taking a bath, going for a walk, doing chores, scheduling a therapy session, watching a funny movie, journaling etc).
^ This increases your connection to yourself and your self esteem. Whatever anyone else says doesn’t matter because you know yourself.
More Quick Bites:
• Suppressed anger can lead to depression and/or anxiety. That anger comes from our boundaries being repeatedly violated.
• Somatic steps to relieving anxiety: do a body scan. Even if you’re anxious and tense all over, find just ONE place in the body that doesn’t feel tense. Sit with that energy and lean into it.
Gabby Reece podcast I spoke about with Nick: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gabby-reece-show/id1492179907
Next week we’re talking ASTROLOGY (and about how I’m a psychic Leo) w/ Intuitive Astrologer Danielle Paige.
- emotional health
- relationship advice
- what's the juice?