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-What does the separation of tasks, coined by Dr. Alfred Adler, entail?

-How can we codependummies determine whether a task is ours or someone else’s?

-What happened in my marriage when I kept taking on my husband’s tasks? (hint: it was not pretty or loving)

Welcome to our 50th episode! 5 – 0! Fifty! This episode is all about the concept of “The Separation of Tasks.” Back in the early 1920’s, an Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist by the name of Alfred Adler, suggested that “all problems are interpersonal relationship problems.” He made bold statements like that and suggested that when we are able to separate our tasks from one another, or as we say “set boundaries” in our contemporary lexicon, then all of our relationship problems will be addressed! WHAT? Listen to Marissa breakdown Adler’s concept of how to separate tasks and hear what happened in her marriage when she failed to separate tasks with her husband–not good!

Thanks for listening! A share, rating, and review is much appreciated!

Be sure to get your copy of The Confiding Codependummy: 30-Days of Journaling Prompts for a less-codependent and more-conscious YOU at Now through midnight on November 30, you can get a discounted copy for just $20. Hop to it since the price increases to $30 on December 1!

Helpful links:

The Courage to Be Happy by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Alfred Adler’s Wikipedia for The Self-Validation Challenge, Newsletter sign-up, and Tools for Healing!

More deets on this week’s episode:

Alfred Adler is an Austrian-born medical doctor and psychotherapist who contributed to the mental health field from about 1900-1930. He collaborated with other OG’s like Freud and Jung, however, broke off on his own to develop Individual Psychology. You may recognize terms like the inferiority complex, style of life (or lifestyle), and birth order from Adler.

Adler said things like “All problems are interpersonal problems.”

With such an emphasis on interpersonal problems, Adler was really into separating tasks (or what we would call “setting boundaries”) since he sensed they were the root to all problems.

How do we go about separating tasks? By asking “Whose task is this? Who will ultimately pay the consequences if this task is not completed?” If the answer isn’t “me,” then that task is technically not yours.

Adler discouraged us to not intrude on other people’s tasks. He even suggested that, in general, all interpersonal relationship troubles are caused by intruding on other people’s tasks, or having one’s own tasks intruded on.

I share an anecdote of taking on my husband’s self-care as my own task. It did not turn out well. In short, I was hyperfocused on my huband’s tasks while neglecting my own.

In Adler’s writings, when someone like me is confronted with a need to separate tasks between themselves and their partner, he wrote that the act of believing is also the separation of tasks. You believe in your partner; that is your task.

Note: we are not talking about non-interference. Sometimes, I will make requests since noninterference is the attitude of not knowing, and not even being interested in knowing what another person is doing. If there is an issue with an undone task, you can tell the other person that that is their task, and then let them know that you are ready to assist them whenever they have the urge to address the task.


How to apply the Separation of Tasks to your life.
Pay attention
When you are about to do something, ask yourself “Whose task is this? Who will ultimately pay the consequence if this task goes undone?”
If it’s your task, complete your task.
If it’s another’s task, you can decide whether you want to a) relinquish that to them or b) offer assistance.
Muster all the might and will it will take you to not intrude or meddle in another’s task.
While you are letting others deal with their own tasks, look down at your body, look inward at your mind, tune into your heart and soul and identify any of your own tasks that you are neglecting.
If you can identify an undone task, I encourage you to start addressing it this week.


Whose tasks, if any, are you taking on right now that you need to separate?

What are you afraid will happen if you let their tasks go?

Is the non-separation of tasks working for you and the other person?

What do you get out of taking on their tasks (distraction, self-esteem, a purpose, etc.)?

How are your attempts to be helpful actually hurting others by not separating your and their tasks?

Thank you! for our premier product, The Confiding Codependummy: 30-Days of Journaling Prompts now just $20 through Nov. 30!!!

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@therapywithmarissa on IG

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