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Part V: Healthy Holiday Relationships

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In December we celebrate various holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas & New Years Eve. There may be one or more people at these celebrations that voice their beliefs in a less than appealing way, cross verbal, emotional or physical boundaries and are generally just difficult to be around. There may be a level of anxiety that builds before the celebration. Certainly, these situations trigger confusion and frustration can leave us feeling empty in the afterglow of the holiday.

Setting healthy boundaries can be very challenging because codependents lack moderate responses and we want people to like us (especially family!). Setting healthy boundaries means that you will not make everyone happy. Likely those one or two family members who are most difficult will not have healthy responses to healthy boundaries, at least not at first. 

However, when boundaries are set respectfully and repetitively (this may take the consistent practice of a few years), those difficult family membe…

Part IV: Codependency and Boundaries

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Welcome Back to the Fall Series on Codependency. The last blog highlighted the first and third item on the list of difficulties below. This blog will highlight the second item on the list: setting functional boundaries.

People Experiencing Codependency have Difficulty: Experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteemSetting functional boundariesOwning and expressing their own realityTaking care of their adult needs and wantsExperiencing and expressing their reality moderately
Why do people who experience codependency have difficulty setting functional boundaries?
Because they have not lived in a family system that had them, which renders them less able to even recognize them in other families and situations. Like a fish in water, we cannot see the water for what it is.

A person who is codependent lives in extremes and not in moderation. 

For example, they feel a moderate response is not enough, only one that is too much is enough. They either trust everyone or nobody at all. Codependent paren…

How Would You Know? Codependency, Fall Series Part III

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Welcome to Part III of Healing from Codependency and its Hidden Charms. The last blog post included a broad definition and some key signs of codependency. I hope you have taken the time to pause, go inside your mind and heart to reflect on any signs that may you relate to. 

For this blog, I chose two signs of codependency to elaborate on so that you can better understand them and start to notice how these may be true for you.  

The Signs

People Experiencing Codependency have Difficulty:
Experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteemSetting functional boundariesOwning and expressing their own realityTaking care of their adult needs and wantsExperiencing and expressing their reality moderately When people have trouble owning and expressing their own reality, they tend to emotionally "merge" with someone close to them and take on that persons feelings and reality. This can happen situationally when we have contact with specific people or all the time with people we are close to or l…

Codependency: Common and Insidious - Fall Series Part II

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Codependency is a learned behavior passed down from one generation to another. It is a type of unhealthy relationship that people share with those close to them. Codependency was originally thought to involve families of substance abuse; however, it includes other types of dysfunctional relationships. The conflict and pain with codependency are almost constant, however recognizing the problem is very hard because it is just the way things are and always have been. It’s like being a fish in a fishbowl and the water is the problem. The fish doesn't examine how the water affects her, she merely swims through it, every moment of her life. That is how codependency is insidious and remains unrecognized and thus unhealed.
The Signs Codependents have difficulty: Experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteemSetting functional boundariesOwning and expressing their own realityTaking care of their adult needs and wantsExperiencing and expressing their reality moderatelyIf you think that none of …

Fall's theme is "Healing from Co-dependency and its Hidden Charms" Part I

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Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I have blogged. I have been meeting with all of you here in the office, teaching classes and cooking up a great theme for fall. 


Fall's theme is "Healing from Co-dependency and its Hidden Charms"


Co-dependency (CD) is an old term, however, it has not lost its zest in our lives as a collective humanity! Often times CD manifests as a set of behaviours that set us up for failure and lack of joy. It can remain invisible while relationship problems persist until we get help and choose to see and change the many layers of it in our lives.

Initially, it can be almost impossible to recognize our own co-dependent behaviours and their negative impact that spans across all of our thoughts, behaviours and outcomes. Co-dependency is usually embedded in us during childhood, which is why it can be hard to become aware of it...its just the way things are and always have been. 

This fall I will write a series of blog posts about co-dependence so stay …

Angers Wave, The Current: Part II

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Recently,  I watched a frustrated child on the playground whose parent was telling the 7-year-old daughter to "stop crying like a 2-year-old". I was appalled. If we can't cry in frustration at age 7, I am not sure what that means for emotional development into adulthood?

Emotional expression of most kinds is commonly shut down in our society. We call people "drama queens" if they express themselves, children are told to stop whining or crying, and adults strive for "balance" and inaccurately think that balance means feeling "neutral" or "calm" all the time - as if we were robots. Society seems obsessed with being "calm", rather than learning how to effectively process the emotion of anger.

As an adult, I chose to find ways to express frustration and anger that are not commonly talked about, certainly not "prescribed" by any psychologist or coach I have ever seen. If I am highly frustrated, I take a drive and sin…

Summer Series: Rapid Anger: Swim Through It - Part I

When I was 13 my dad made me a punching bag to use when I was frustrated. He wrapped a 2x4 piece of wood with very thick padding so the bag was oblong. He used duck tape to wrap it up tight, hung it from the ceiling and connected it to the floor with springs, so it had some give.

I remember when he was done and had left, I took a permanent marker and drew his face on it.
I was angry with my biological father for not being around much as I was growing up or when he was around, he just wasnt present. This is the story of so many kids.

I put my boxing gloves on and began tapping the punching bag. It didn't take long for me to really get into it and feel that I was pushing out every bit of anger I had within me. I made angry faces and started to sweat and jump around. The bag swung forward and back at me with his face on it and I hit it hard.

Using this bag gave me great relief and often times when I was done punching it, I felt sad. The sadness that was buried beneath the anger was …