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-How can loving baby girls turn into codependent daughters with their mothers?
-What messages do we get from our mothers that lead us to be passive, subservient, and conflict-avoidant?
-What are the initial steps we can take to heal our relationship with our mothers?

Welcome to Episode 93! This week, we are graced with the presences of Dr. Judith Rabinor, psychologist and author of the book, The Girl in the Red Boots: Making Peace with My Mother. Dr. Rabinor talks with me about what codependency between a mother and a daughter looks like, how it starts, and what we can do to start to break the patterns of codependency we have with our moms. You’ll hear me share quotes from Dr. Rabinor’s book and have her expand on how we go from a healthy dependency in our childhood to an unhealthy codependency with our mothers as young women. We conclude with ways for you to start knowing and expressing your own thoughts and needs. It’s a must-listen!

More on this episode’s guest:
Judy is a clinical psychologist, an author and a writing coach who teaches on line. She is the author of The Girl in the Red Boots: Making Peace with My Mother, a unique book integrating memoir, self help for mothers and daughters and a basic introduction to the psychology and psychotherapy of eating disorders.
Facebook Author Page: drjudyrabinor
Get Judy’s mini book here:

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More deets on the episode:

We begin with hearing Dr. Rabinor’s definition of codependency: an imbalance of power where one individual is “in charge” and the other is “obedient.” She expands on how the obedient one tends to also be intensively anxious about keeping the other individual happy. This can be with a partner, a parent, a boss, a friend, etc.

We then dive into Dr. Rabinor’s book, The Girl in the Red Boots: Healing My Relationship With My Mother. I read the following quotes and then have Dr. Rabninor expand on related questions:
Page 27: My early programming…is what I learned as a small child who yearned for my mother’s love and approval. Driven to please her, I absorbed and internalized her essence. Unconsciously, a part of me was still devoted to the voice in my head whispering, “Mother knows best.”
What does it look like to absorb and interlize our mother’s essence?
Page 66: …she had betrayed me, her daughter. She had pulled me in to the middle of her drama by asking me to keep a secret [from my husband and brother]. I should have said all of this to her, and I should have asked her why she had to tell me. I should have reminded her that I had just lost my father and was in mourning. I wish I had told her that her happiness about her affair, her comfort…brought me neither happiness or comfort…But I said none of those things. I don’t really know why I didn’t have a voice…”
How do we lose our voices with our mothers when it comes to asserting our needs, disappointments, frustrations?
Page 104: …the pain of seventh grade wasn’t only about being rejected by the mean girls. It was also about feeling isolated by and disconnected from my mother…”This really isn’t a big deal!” she said. “No more crying, Judy. And if you think losing your best friend hurts, just wait until you lose a boyfriend.” A detailed narrative followed as my mother described her heartbreak when her first boyfriend dumped her….”Was there something wrong with me that I was suffering so much and making a big deal about something unimportant?”
Do experiences like this teach us daughters to prioritize the needs of our mothers (stop crying, listen to my heartbreak story) over ourselves (grieve a friendship, process the rejection)? What does that do for our other relationships?
Page 138: Marcy had been working with me in therapy for six months when I began to worry she might get suck in a cycle of mother blaming.
How do we avoid mother blaming while working through our codependency?
Page 160: Many women have been trained to serve others and have trouble knowing and expressing their own wants and needs. Articulating one’s “wants” is a still that takes practice and a willingness to risk challenging the givens and facting the unknown?
Where do we start with developing this skill?

We conclude with Dr. Rabninor sharing with us about ways we can heal our relationship with our mothers (providing her with context, practicing self-compassion and mother-compassion, and working through the anger/grief/depression). She also describes how we can break the patterns of codependency in our current relationships: become aware if we are being codependent, ask ourselves “What am I afraid to say?,” and then start to have conversations to tolerate dissension/conflict/disagreement.

Questions for you:
What came up for you as you heard Dr. Rabinor’s definition of codependency?
How have you internalized and absorbed your mother’s opinions/beliefs/attitudes? And how may that no longer be serving you?
Do you have a voice when it comes to asserting your feelings/wants/needs with your mother? What do you imagine would happen if you spoke up for yourself?
What experiences from your past can you recal where you put the needs and comfort of your mother above your own? How does that impact you in your current relationships?
Do you mother-blame? Is there anger/grief/sadness towards your relationship with your mother that you need to work through?
How have you been trained to serve others? And what can you do to start developing the skill of being aware and sharing your needs with others?

Thank you for coming on Dr. Rabinor!

Get Judy’s mini book here:

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