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-What does codependency look like in families navigating addiction?

-Why is it that setting boundaries is so emphasized in these families?

-How do you set boundaries with loved ones struggling with addiction? And does it lead to living happily ever after?

Welcome to Episode 142! In this episode, Nick Bognar returns to discuss codependency in families navigating addiction. We all know that codependents tend to take on their caretaking roles with dependents (those struggling with addiction or alcoholism) but what does that really look like? Nick describes the common traits of codepedents in families navigating addiction and why setting boundaries is so important in these situations. Nick gets specific on what it looks like to set boundaries, both with addicts and other family members, and how to overcome the pain that often comes with boundaries. We conclude with a message from hope about the long-term positive changes boundaries provide. It’s a must-listen!

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Nick Bognar is a therapist in Pasadena, CA who specializes in men’s issues and codependence. Nick’s favorite thing in the world is helping clients learn how to set boundaries. In his spare time, Nick acts in various film projects under the stage name “Ryan Gosling”.

Resource for therapists:

Nick’s first episode on The Codependummy Podcast:

More deets on the episode:

We begin by hearing Nicks’ expansion on his initial definition of codependency: taking care of people until it kills you…which is made of a set of behaviors, set of beliefs where there’s a non-reciprocity with people or the world. These behaviors, beliefs, and the lack of reciprocity tned to cause a lot of misery, suffering, and lead people into therapy.

Nick opens up about codependency in his life, including when he worked as a waiter. He recalls how he was good at it thanks to being adept at anticipating people’s needs. He’d extend himself to his customers and often end up feeling betrayed, miserable, and disappointed since he took care of their needs and they did not take care of his.

We shift focus to codependency in families navigating addiction. Nick details codependent behaviors in these families, including secret-keeping, an over-focus on a “problem child” while ignoring the addiction, caretaking, and preserving the notion of peace.

Nick spells out why setting boundaries is so often emphasized in these families: 1) there is an overstepping of boundaries in said families; and 2) lack of boundaries lead to neglect of self-care. The boundary-less-ness leads a codependent to take on a role of being caring, anticipating needs, allowing abuse, and suffering quietly.

We explore what boundaries look like in these families which fall on a spectrum: on one end, boundaries with an addict can involve a complete cut-off from communication; on the other end, it can be refusing to be around them when they drink/use. Nick highlights how boundaries often are confused as a way to say “no,” however, it’s truly a way to say “yes” to maintaining relationships.

While boundaries are painful, Nick stresses how no amount of help on your part will save a loved one. He recalls helping former clients with setting boundaries and shares a message hope for the positive impact they can have. So go out there and set those boundaries!

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