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How is it that so much of what codependents go through is grief?
What are the 5 Stages of Grief and how do codependents experience them?
How can addressing our grief help us not repeat our codependummy patterns in relationships?
In this podcast episode, Marissa speaks with Lesleigh J. Tolin, M.S., Grief Recovery Specialist about the interconnection between codependency and grief. Experts on codependency have suggested that codependents experience grief often in their relationships and Lesliegh is here to help us understand how. You’ll hear her share with us about her own experiences with codependency, how she defines it, and the variety of grief experiences we can have (you’ll be surprised!). Lesleigh adds why it is important for us to address our grief and ways you can start to do so today.
Thanks for listening!
About this episode’s guest:
Lesleigh J. Tolin is trained as a psychotherapist and certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She is based in Los Angeles and works with clients in the US and internationally by teaching them the eight-week Grief Recovery Method online to help them cope with loss while also changing their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about grief. Lesleigh herself has experienced an inordinate amount of losses and has a passion for helping others transform their own.
More deets on this week’s episode:
Question 1: How does Lesleigh define codependency? “Codependency is a very emotional condition in which what we each do is we frequently give up ourselves for the needs of others. Again and again and again. That’s learned behavior for those of us who may have been traumatized early in life at home…we become so frightened that what we begin to do is give up ourselves so we can please others to stay safe.”
Question 2: How has Lesleigh experienced that in her own life? “I’m an open book about it.” Lesleigh shares with Marissa and listeners about growing up in an alcoholic home where she witnessed physical and emotional abuse. “I was always the peacemaker and it was my job to make sure everything was okay…”
*random observation: Lesleigh is so open about her parents. Marissa shares her envy.
Question 3: In her book, Codependent No More, Melody Beattie writes about codependency and grief. For Lesleigh, how are codependency and the grief process related? “Two thoughts to share: the Five Stages of Grief and how codependency and grief relate.” Lesleigh describes the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And what is grief? Not just the loss of a loved one. It’s getting dumped, getting fired, dealing with a pandemic, moving to a new city, graduating from school, etc. The list truly goes on and on! “If we don’t’ heal from the trauma [from previous losses], we are going to repeat the process.”
“If we are being codependent, we are sad because we are giving up ourselves for others.” That giving up is a loss!
Question 4: What are some other types of grief we should be mindful of? Lesleigh discusses her mentor and trainer, John James, and his definition of grief: The conflicting mass of emotions we have when anything familiar in our life changes. When an alcoholic gets sober, when a relative develops dementia, when we go into lockdown due to a pandemic, etc. What comes up as you hear the list??? If you relate, it’s okay since Lesleigh normalizes how we are “broken-hearted but not broken.”
Question 5: What IS the Grief Recovery Method? Lesleigh describes her specialty, how it was founded, and ways she helps codependents work through their grief with the 8-step process. “The program is simple. It’s a structured, short-term, compassionate, action and evidence-based program for any one who is walking through any kind of a loss.” She helps them develop a “tool box” that they develop while coping with a grief or loss in their past and then are able to utilize moving forward.
Question 6: How can dealing with grief help cope with a codependent loss? Lesleigh discusses how the loss of former partner or routine often leads us to feel helpless: “we are not taught what to do when we lose others.” Lesleigh helps them create a new sense of self where they are empowered and stop getting into codependent relationships over and over.
Question 7: How has the pandemic compounded our grief? Lesleigh talks about the “tragedy we walked through collectively.” For those of you who are codependent, the losses you had this past year were far more difficult to cope with since we were in lockdown! If you struggled, it’s okay baby girl.
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