None of us are born with the skills to build and sustain healthy relationships. These things are learned. In this episode, our guest is Ryan Cheney, an experienced psychotherapist and behavioral leadership coach, guiding us through the intricacies of healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics. Our conversation will explore the importance of interdependence, the negative impacts of codependency, and the nuanced practice of attunement, including how to rectify misattunements. Further, we will delve into the role of healthy boundaries in building resilience and trust, how resistance and perfectionism can hinder growth, acceptance and self-awareness, and the difference between appeasement and compromise
Our 2024 Live Event
Join us at Awake and Aware 2024, a transformative 3-day workshop from May 1st to 3rd in Bend, Oregon. Focusing on interactive experiences, this event offers a unique opportunity to reset, reflect, and connect with like-minded individuals. Limited slots.
Early bird discount code: FULLYAWAKE24. $100 off registration. Expires Jan 31, 2024
CME: Yes! This is a CME event.
REGISTRATION FOR THE FLAMEPROOF COURSE IS NOW OPEN
This course will make you so burnout resistant that they can tell you to 5 patients an hour with only a rusty spoon in your pocket and a unit clerk at your side. And you will just smile (results not guaranteed).
The next cohort begins Feb 1, 2024. Learn more here.
LOVE MEDICINE, BUT THE JOB ITSELF LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED?
I work with many docs in your shoes. To learn more about 1 on 1 coaching, start here
3 FREE RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO ADDRESS PAIN POINTS IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE PRACTICE
Ryan Cheney MS, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor, wellness specialist, certified behavioral leadership coach, breath work specialist, and certified XPT (extreme performance training) coach.
He received his Master of Science in clinical mental health from Oregon State University and has dedicated himself to learning how to help others through continued research, education, and practice for over 15 years. He has worked in many settings, including community mental health crisis work, clinical outpatient work within medical settings, and as a clinical supervisor for Deschutes County Behavioral Health. He works in his private practice as a clinical mental health therapist specializing in trauma work and as a performance coach, helping others gain self-mastery and thrive.
Connect with Ryan Here
The Campfire Metaphor for Relationships
- The campfire metaphor serves as a visualization to understand personal health, identity, and communal relationships.
- Like building a campfire, relationship skills are not innate; they are learned through observation and teaching from an early age.
- Maintaining a campfire is akin to sustaining one’s own health and vitality.
- The individual is responsible for their own “campfire,” meaning their well-being
- Maintenance includes adding the right elements physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
Interacting with Others’ Campfires
- Each person has their own campfire, and their interaction can be healthy or unhealthy.
- Unhealthy patterns include one person constantly taking from another’s campfire, while healthy interactions involve mutual support and independence.
- A healthy relationship is characterized by a balanced give-and-take
- Healthy interdependency is preferred over unhealthy codependency
The Difference Between Healthy Interdependence and Codependency
- Self-Sufficiency vs. Over-Reliance: Interdependence involves two people who are self-sufficient in their own right but choose to rely on each other in mutually beneficial ways. Conversely, codependency involves an over-reliance on the other person to the extent that independent functioning is compromised.
- Mutual Support vs. One-Way Caretaking: In interdependence, there is mutual support, where both individuals provide and receive help in a balanced manner. In codependency, one person is typically the caretaker, consistently putting the other person’s needs before their own.
- Healthy Boundaries vs. Lack of Boundaries: Interdependent relationships maintain healthy boundaries; individuals respect each other’s autonomy and do not feel threatened by time apart. Codependent relationships often have blurred or nonexistent boundaries, leading to enmeshment.
- Equal Partnership vs. Imbalance of Power: Interdependence fosters an equal partnership where decisions and power are shared. Codependency often features an imbalance of power, with one person controlling or manipulating the other, either directly or indirectly.
- Empowerment vs. Helplessness: Interdependence empowers each person to grow and thrive, whereas codependency can lead to feelings of helplessness and an inability to function independently without the other person’s presence or reassurance.
The Dynamics of Healthy Relationships
- Campfire as Reciprocity: The metaphor is extended to illustrate healthy relationships, where both individuals contribute to each other’s well-being, making both “flames” brighter and fostering resilience.
- Codependency as Energy Drain: In contrast, codependency is likened to feeding off each other’s energy without truly contributing, leading to a depletion rather than mutual support.
Identifying Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
- Using the campfire imagery, one can evaluate the state of their relationships, identifying those that are nourishing versus those that are draining.
Blaming Never Helps, But It Sure Happens A Lot
- Blame as a Barrier: Shifting away from blame is essential for growth, as blame can lead to disconnection and a lack of personal empowerment.
- Curiosity as a Tool: Embracing curiosity about oneself and others can transform the approach to relationships and personal responsibility.
- Responsibility and Emotional Intelligence: Acknowledging resistance and emotional responses without judgment fosters emotional intelligence and a sense of personal agency.
- Using Blame Constructively: Recognizing when blame arises can serve as a practice to build self-awareness and personal responsibility.
Understanding Resistance in Personal Growth and Relationships
- Resistance is often tied to emotional pain or past trauma, serving as a protective mechanism to avoid further hurt.
- Personal Programming: Individual experiences and upbringing shape how one relates to others, which can lead to resistance when facing emotional challenges or changes.
- Developing equanimity and resilience helps to overcome resistance, enabling a person to face complex emotions and experiences.
- Struggle Against Acceptance: The act of resisting is essentially a struggle against accepting reality. Acceptance, on the other hand, is presented as the antidote to resistance, facilitating peace and resilience.
Resistance is a Struggle Against Acceptance
- Rumi’s Poem “The Guest House”: This poem is used to teach the concept of welcoming all emotions without resistance, embracing them as part of the human experience.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning, a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Confronting and Recovering from Perfectionism
- While perfectionism can drive achievement, it often leads to misery and can be considered a form of resistance to accepting oneself.
- Acknowledged as a state of hyper-vigilance, perfectionism is likened to a constant energy drain, which can be both a motivator and a hindrance.
- Is the perfectionism nourishing or draining? What drives the need for such high performance?
- Perfectionism is often a reaction to a deep-seated belief of not being enough. It’s a pattern that can emerge from unmet needs in childhood and can lead to hyper-vigilance or collapse
- Perfectionism is a detachable identity rather than an intrinsic self-trait. Recognizing it as a pattern allows for a healthier self-relationship and establishing boundaries.
The Impact of Attunement on Personal and Professional Interactions
- The example of a caretaker responding to a baby’s needs illustrates the importance of attuning to emotional and physical needs, which can affect one’s ability to connect with others and oneself.
- A lack of attunement in childhood can significantly impact one’s relational patterns later in life.
- The ability to recognize and repair misattunements is crucial for healthy relationships. It’s not about achieving perfection in relationships but rather about building resilience through the repair process.
The Importance of Boundaries in Healthy Relationships
- Challenges of Setting Boundaries: A common challenge is the desire to be liked, which can lead to appeasement and the avoidance of conflict. This often results in not setting proper boundaries to prevent friction.
- Awareness Before Action: Self-inquiry – why are boundaries needed, and what are the feelings associated with setting them?
- There is a distinction between learning the skill of setting boundaries and having the awareness to apply them effectively. Without understanding the underlying personal dynamics, boundaries may not work well.
- Joan Rivers’ Guide To Heckers NYT
- The Boundaries Infographic mentioned in the episode
The Distinction Between Appeasement and Compromise
- Appeasement results from a desire to avoid conflict or discomfort. It can be a protective strategy (often subconscious) to guard against fears such as rejection or abandonment, where one may give up their needs or desires to avoid triggering adverse outcomes or shielding oneself from emotional pain.
- Compromise is differentiated from appeasement by its element of engagement and mutual understanding. It involves a level of agency and acknowledging both parties’ perspectives.