Manage episode 377260705 series 2868311
-How do couples interact when they are under the ‘spell of codependency?’
-Why is it that ‘high-functioning’ codependents act immature and childlike in romantic relationships?
-What can couples do to break their codependent patterns?
Welcome to Episode 144! This week, the amazing Connie Morlett Maddison, LMFT, joins us to talk about her experience treating codependency in couples. Connie shares about the couples she has worked with and how the ‘high-functioning’ codependent partner often behaves in an immature, childlike, and over-reliant manner when it comes to problem-solving, conflict, and compromise. We also discuss the dynamic between the ‘codependent partner’ and the ‘partner they are codependent on’ since it is a symbiotic relationship! It’s not all on the codependent! We conclude with ways Connie helps couples combat codependency through ‘uncoupling’ and improving their respective relationships with themselves. It’s a must-listen!
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More on thise week’s guest:
Connie Morlett Maddison, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Claremont, California. She is also an adjunct professor teaching clinical psychology with an emphasis in Multicultural and Latino Community mental health. Connie proudly identifies as Chicana, born in East Los Angeles, and raised by her maternal grandparents in Queretaro, Mexico.
More deets on the episode:
We begin with Connie’s definition of codependency: when one surrenders their own identity for the benefits of love, security, safety, belonging, and survival. She emphasizes how being dependent is nothing to villainize and how, from a sociological lens, it is a good thing. However, when relationships become conditional like codependency often does, it is unhealthy.
Connie recollects her own codependent relationship with her younger sister. Due to their circumstance, they relied heavily on one another and this lead to each of them wanting the other’s approval, love, validation, and so on. Connie highlighted how, if and when she did not get the approval or communication from her sister that she needed, it felt like abandonment. Such a great description of our codependent experience!
We shift gears to Connie’s expertise: working with couples in therapy. She shares her observations of the codependent parter’s behavior, including how we often seize our partners, give up our autonomy/self-trust/wisdom/intuition, become child-like and immature during conflict, and rely on our partner as a “mighty source.” This looks like bickering, fighting, passive-aggressiveness, and name-calling on the day-to-day.
And what about the partner of the codependent? We often focus on our behavior but it’s a symbiotic relationship! What about the partner in this dynamic? Connie states how the relationships are symbiotic “and they can become parasitic.” The other partner has been codependent too! Their behavior includes staying in the relationship and fulfilling needs despite how draining it is.
To address these challenges, Connie has couples ask themselves: how do you get your needs met for yourself first? They must have a willingness and motivation to have a relationship with themselves first THEN address the needs in the relationship. What needs are most important to you? Attention, acceptance, affection, appreciation, or allowance.
We conclude with Connie’s experience of witnessing couples do the work of “uncoupling” and creating a relationship with themselves: they feel relieved, responsible for their own needs, and become sexy to one another as mature partners!
Thanks for coming on Connie! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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See you next week!