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-What does codependency look like in teen boys?

-How can adolescence be a “hot bed” for codependency due to developmental, social, and cultural factors?

-What are the long-term consequences of unaddress codependency in the lives of young men?

Welcome to Episode 145! This week, I am joined by Sipan Nazaryan, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, to discuss codependency in teen boys. I for one do not think of teen boys when the word codependency is mentioned, however, Sipan is here to educate us on what codependency looks like in the lives of male teens with their friends, parents, mentors, and romantic interests. We explore Sipan’s approach when he noticies codependent behavior in his teen boys and how he connects with them, especially those who are resistant to therapy. We take a look at codependency between parents and their teen sons and how it harms their ability to individuate. We conclude with hearing about the long-term consequences of unaddress codependency in these young men. It’s a must-listen!

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Sipan Nazaryan, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, graduated from Pepperdine the summer of 2023 with a masters in Clinical Psychology. He has worked under Kent Toussaint at Child & Teen Counseling for his traineeship. Sipan currently is working under Anita Avedian at Anger Management 818 / Avedian Counseling Center for his associateship.




Connection Parenting Book Sipan references:

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We begin with hearing Sipan’s definition of codependency: an addiction to a specific relationship; where one has difficulty distinguishing where they end and someone else begins. And how does that look in the population Sipan specializes in working with: teen boys? Codependent teen boys often see themselves through the eyes of another; they’re perspective is skewed through another’s lens; they take in another person’s perspective to an extreme; they find purpose in a relationship; they “have to” be with someone in particular; and they lose their friends due to an over-focus on another relationship. On social media, these types of relationships are often referred to as “my twin flame” or “soul mate.”

So what does codependency look like in teen boys (since we don’t often expect them to be codependent)? Sipan shares how teen boys are susceptible to codependency since they are in a state attempting to individuate while also susceptible to the influence of their parents, friends, mentors, coaches, etc. This phase of life requires boundary setting and group embededness, however, if they struggle to set boundaries or become too embedded in their relationships, they can fall into the grasp of codependency.

And how does Sipan approach working with teen boys, especially those who are resistant to therapy? Sipan acknowledges how this population is often difficult to work with for therapists. Through a series of steps, Sipan connects with his teen client’s parents, establishes the teen client’s autonomy in therapy, sets boundaries with the parents, and connects with his client through the self-object and timeline activities.

Sipan reflects on how work with teen boys and their parents who were codependent on them. This looks like the parent projecting anxiety onto their son, being hyper-protective of them, and an overall discomfort with their son individuating. Sipan works with the parents by providing psychoeducation to help them connect with their son on a deeper level to avoid always providing instruction or correction to him while lessening their codependent grip.

We end with hearing a message of warning and hope for young men: if their codependency is unaddressed, their relationships are left fragile and lacking stability. With help from therapy, teen boys are able to create strong, stable relationships and can cope with difficulty much better.

Thanks for coming on Sipan! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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