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-How does childhood trauma affect our identity and contribute to the development of codependency?

-What effect does trauma have on our relationships, especially the formation of our codependent ones?

-With the knowledge of the long-term consequences of childhood trauma, is healing possible?!?

Welcome to Episode 107! In this episode, we talk with Tomiko Mackey, LCSW, on the interconnection between codependency and trauma. Tomiko shares with us about how trauma, especially that which we experienced in childhood, can contribute to the development of codependent patterns in our relationships. You’ll hear her describe the ways trauma impacts our identity formation and can make us more vulnerable to attaching to others in a manner that requires our passivity, self-sacrifice, and self-neglect. We explore whether it’s trauma or codependency that comes first–and ways that codependency can make us more vulnerable to ongoing exposure to trauma. We conclude with answering the question: is healing possible after traumatic experiences? It’s a must-listen!

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More on this episode’s guest:

Tomiko Mackey is an LCSW in private practice, Mackey Counseling Services. She’s certified in TF-CBT (trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy) and trained in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). Tomiko provides teletherapy to children, adolescents and adults who’ve experienced trauma, dealing with depression, anxiety. She’s licensed in California and Mississippi.


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We begin with hearing from Tomiko on her definition of codependency as well as codependent experiences from her own life. Tomiko emphasizes how she observes codependent behaviors in ‘how we move in relationships.’ As a trauma therapist, she believes that codependent patterns comes from the quality of our attachments, especially with our early caregivers.

In her own life, Tomiko acknowledges ways she was codependent in her young adulthood, especially in her romantic relationships. Thanks to her efforts in attending therapy, building a support system, and developing coping skills, she’s been able to heal and strives to provide the same experience to her patients.

We turn our focus to trauma and ways childhood abuse, sexual assault, and other forms of trauma affect our identity and contribute to the development of codependency. Attachment, attachment, attachment is what Tomiko emphasizes.

Tomiko drops some wisdom with the quote: It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults. If we are broken adults, it seems that we may be more susceptible to experiencing trauma again and again due to the disempowerment that comes in our codependent relationships.

With all the talk about the consequences of trauma–and how codependents may re-experience trauma again and again, one has to wonder: is healing from trauma possible? Tomiko says YES! She discusses how, in addition to therapy, we can focus on moving our bodies, mindfulness, building community, incorporating laughter, and practicing self-grace to promote our healing.
Thanks for coming on Tomiko!

And thank you for listening, my dear listener!

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