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-What is the “Demon Dance” and how do codependents tend to pursue while their partners withdraw?

-How are codependent relationships, at their worst, like those of parasites and hosts?

-When we’re stuck in an unhealthy relationship pattern, how can we cultivate attunement, separate responsibilities, and reciprocity?

Welcome to Episode 99! In this episode, Magena Amen, a couples therapist, educates us on how and why codependent relationships look like those of parasites and hosts. You’ll hear her share about the “Demon Dance” we get stuck in through a pursuing-withdrawing pattern and how to get out of it. Magena then educates us on how we can break the pattern through taking space, separating responsibilities, cultivating attunement, and creating a sense of reciprocity. It’s a must-listen!

More on this episode’s guest:

Magena helps those who’ve been dealt a shit hand in life. Maybe it’s been trauma or some other awful experiences, but they’ve got you stuck & emotionally up & down. If you’ve ever been called too much or too sensitive, Magena’s your gal. She helps people reclaim their run away emotions to create more joy & better connection in their lives.

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More deets on the episode:

We begin by hearing Magena’s definition of codependency: like a “leeching system.” She compares codependency with that of a parasite-host dynamic where we, the codependents, are the “host” and are in relation with someone who, like a parasite, takes from us with little to no reciprocity.

We then hear about Magena’s previous experiences of codependency, including a previous boyfriend. “I loved the men I could save.”

Next, we explore the patterns of codependency in the couples Magena works with. She describes to us her work using EFT, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and how to break the “Demon Dance.” Magena spells out how one partner tends to leave, stonewall, act out, etc. while the other pursues/chases, attempts to keep the communication going, and attempts to appease their partner to make them stay. Sounds like two partners dancing together, yes? “You lead and I will follow.”

I ask about what’s helpful and hurtful during these times of conflict/tension/discord. Magena encourages us to ask ourselves, “What’s mine? What’s not mine?” This question helps us discern our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors while not being responsible for our partners.

And how do we break these patterns? 3 ingredients: attunement, separated responsibility, and reciprocity. Magena helps couples achieve this through education, reflecting/mirroring activities, and practice, practice, practice!

Thanks for coming on Magena! Be sure to check out her website for the free Vimeo tutorials on these practices as well as ways to find a therapist.

Questions for you:
What came up for you as you heard Magena’s definition of codependency?
How do you relate to her experiences of codependency?
When have you engaged in “pursuing” behaviors with a partner/parent/friend who was “withdrawing” like those in the Demon Dance?
How do you sense you’ve felt powerful/in control when it was you who was being pursued in relationships and got to withdraw from time to time?
What can you do to integrate the practices that Magena recommends—reciprocity, attunement, and separation of responsibilities?

Thank you, dear listener, for listening!
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