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My personal goal has always been to become a healthier person all around This includes the relationships I have with both myself and the people I love; how I treat them and how I 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 sick.

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. People-pleasing, a lack of boundaries, relying on others to validate or soothe us, enabling others’ negative behaviors, believing others will change for you, or focusing on others to avoid the self are all forms of codependency.

EPISODE #04 – ARE YOU CODEPENDENT OR NAH? – diving deep into relationship health, boundaries, intimacy, and resentment

What is Codependency?

Codependency is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, friend, family member, or even pet! 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.

Tana Espino

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.

Examples include:

** 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.

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.

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.



When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Mate

Stay Juicy,


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