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-How, despite our “giving” exteriors, are codependents emotionally unavailable in relationships?

-When we codependents keep doing things for others, especially our partners, what are the consequences? (i.e., we rob them of their autonomy, create conditional love, etc.)

-Why we need to ask: what is the relationship I want to be in INSTEAD OF who we want our partner to be?

Thanks for tuning in! This week, I sat down with Kim Bielak, AMFT, to talk about codependency in couples. Kim shares with us about the familiar pattern of couples including one codependent partner and one “emotionally unavailable” partner–but we discuss how codependents are indeed emotionally unavailable too! We discuss how codependents are emotionally unavailable to themselves–so how can they ever truly be emotionally present for others? Kim describes how she works with couples to help them cultivate a relationship with themselves as individuals to then strengthen their relationship as partners. We end with some specific tips for you to integrate in your own life to improve your relationship with yourself. It’s a must-listen!

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More on this episode’s guest:

Kim Bielak is an Associate Marriage & Family therapist in Los Angeles, California, currently supervised by Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Chris Tickner.

Kim works with both individuals and couples through a highly integrative, holistic, and mindfulness-centered approach to helps clients slow down, relax their grip, and use curiosity and openness to explore the patterns that are currently holding them back.

Kim has spent time as a former yoga teacher and life, career, and executive coach, all of which have contributed to additional perspectives from places like somatic psychology and positive psychology she brings into her work.

You can following Kim on Instagram at @kimbielak or visit her website and sign up for her newsletter at

More deets on this episode:

We hear about Kim’s perspective on the term codependency, which she emphasizes likely was an “adaptive” way to interact with others in the past. Wow!

Kim shares about codependency in her own life, including her romantic relationships where she tended to find emotionally unavailable partners…but maybe she was emotionally unavailable too! Kim reflects on how she contributed to the unhealthy patterns in her relationship which hopefully helps you see how you too may be covertly avoiding intimacy with others by being so overly-focused on them.

We discuss the ways that Kim works with codependency in the couples she works with. She begins with boundaries, education, and acceptance. “If we enter into a relationship with someone, we have to accept them as they are. We can’t create conditions to earn love.” Amen!

Kim describes some suggestions she has for those who have codependent tendencies. First, practice self-compassion. From there, we focus on building our relationship with ourselves and developing our own social lives/hobbies/ways we want to spend our time. Kim concludes by emphasizing how, instead of thinking of the “person” we want to be with, we need to ask ourselves: What is the relationship I want to be in? It’s important to ask this instead of thinking of “who” we want to be with.

It’s a must-listen! Thanks for coming on Kim!

Questions for you:

What came up as you heard Kim’s definition of codependency?
How do you relate to Kim’s examples of her codependency? What aspects of your codependency were you reminded of?
How do you sense your codependency shows up in your relationship if you are part of a couple?
When you keep doing things for others, what do you sense you are communicating to them?
Where can you bring in more self-compassion in your life?
What is the relationship you want to be in? With yourself, with friends, with a partner, etc.?
Thank you for listening!

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