Skip to content

Ep #265: When Emotional Outsourcing Becomes a Habit in Relationship

Feminist Wellness with Victoria Albina | When Emotional Outsourcing Becomes a Habit in Relationship

Something I hear often from folks is that while they feel really solid in their independence when they’re alone, it feels like a switch gets flipped when they step into a relationship. Their emotional outsourcing tendencies seem to suddenly get amplified, especially in romantic relationships, but why does this happen?

If you notice specific situations or people where you feel compelled to step into codependent habits, you’re most definitely not alone. The crossfire between our independence and almost desperate need to connect with and please others is truly a tale as old as time, and the explanations lie in science.

Join me this week as I explore the tangled web of emotional outsourcing in relationships, and share some of the factors at play that lead to a heightened sense of codependence and people-pleasing inside relationships. Although this journey may be fraught with challenges, it’s also brimming with opportunities for profound healing and growth, and I’m sharing my favorite remedies for stepping out of the shadow of old habits and into the light of self-awareness.

Join me in my group coaching program, Anchored: Overcoming Codependency!

What You’ll Learn:

Why, while you might feel solid in your independence, codependency and people-pleasing tendencies show up in your relationships.

The common threads in our psychological makeup that lead to emotional outsourcing being amplified in relationships.

How we get trapped in a cycle of diminishing our own needs for the sake of other people’s approval.

The role of polyvagal theory and neuroscience in reinforcing our emotional outsourcing tendencies.

Why doing both the mindset and somatic work at the same time is key to choosing a different path.

The intersectional forces that play a part in glorifying codependent thinking in relationships.

My favorite kitten-step remedies for when codependency emerges in your relationships.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

• Download my free orienting exercise by clicking here!

• Are you interested in learning more about somatics? Check out my free webinar all about it here!

• Follow me on Instagram

• Keep up with me on Facebook

• If you have not yet followed, rated, and reviewed the show on Apple Podcasts, or shared it on your social media, I would be so grateful and delighted if you could do so!

• Join me in my group coaching program, Anchored: Overcoming Codependency

• Curious about Breathwork Journey Meditation? Check out my free gift to you, Breathwork intro - a guide to the practice and a 13-minute session, all on the house, for you to download and keep.

Send me an email

• Let’s connect! Send a text message to 917-540-8447 and drop your email address in and we’ll send you a present.

• If you want to come on the show to talk more about this topic, email your pitch by clicking here!

Ep #48: Your Why and Polyvagal Theory

Ep #61: The Nervous System & Your Health and Wellness

Ep #84: Living with Intention

Ep #110: Codependent Friendships

Ep #135: Attachment and Nervous System Resourcing

Ep #174: Polyvagal 101

Ep #183: Getting Anchored: Attachment Styles

Ep #184: Avoidant Attachment

Ep #185: Disorganized Attachment

Ep #213: Your Nervous System and Substances 

Ep #214: Understanding and Reframing Your Attachment Style with Honeydew Me

• Download your free body scan meditation!

Full Episode Transcript:

This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine expert, and life coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome, my love, let’s get started.

Hello, hello, my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. The sun is out after many days of rain, the birds are chirping, little daffodils and crocus, are coming up through the ground, and ah, I'm just so happy. I'm just thinking forward to all the fun activities we have planned with friends this spring and fall, and big, big changes coming around the bend for our family.

And yeah, I'm just really excited about all of the things. I'm offering Anchored again, after what, an eight-month hiatus? Took time off to write the book, and some family stuff. And ah, it just feels so good to talk to people about Anchored again and hear their excitement. We don't start for a month and the program's a little over half full, and that's really exciting, and exciting that people are excited to do this work.

Anchored is the culmination of the last 20 years of my studies and I just love sharing it with folks. Yeah, so those are the exciting things in my life that are top of mind right now. This week's podcast is not about daffodils; that would be an interesting turn of events for Feminist Wellness.

Instead, we're talking about… Well, first of all, I got several emails asking me to talk about this topic, when I asked you all over New Year's what do you want me to talk about? I hear this a lot, both in Anchored and in folks who are looking to join Anchored, when I asked them why do you want to do this work?

It goes something like this, When I'm rolling solo, I'm not dating anyone, I feel really solid in my independence. I don't really do that codependent, perfectionist, people-pleasing dance with anyone, right? I'm hanging with my crew. I do my self-care. I stand in my strength. That whole, ‘do they like me?’ voice in my head. When I'm on my own it's more of a whisper versus in the rest of my life when it's a scream. I feel solid in me when I'm alone.

And then, I start dating someone. Suddenly, and all those old patterns that I thought I'd outgrown are back with a vengeance, like Gremlins hungry for I mean, of course, pizza after dark, but also approval and connection. I hear that a lot around dating, in particular.

But I also hear it about folks who feel really strong and powerful and boundaried and solid in their identity and their worth when they're at work. And then, they get home and everything crumbles. Or maybe vice versa, right?

This also applies to folks who feel way most themselves when they're on vacation and so far from being the self they love at home. Beyond the ‘who doesn't feel better lying on a beach somewhere?’ But you actually don't feel like the “you” you like at home, that you do feel like when you're not at home.

I think there's something in here for everyone. So, I'll invite you to listen with an ear for how this episode, and all that we're about to review, can apply to you and your life. And if you listen in with that ear, I'm pretty sure you're going to find it. So, let's dive in.

Why do these tendencies towards emotional outsourcing… Which is, for folks who are new… Welcome, I love you. You are beloved here. “Emotional outsourcing” is our word for codependent, perfectionist, and people-pleasing living. So, why do these tendencies jump out the second we're not flying solo anymore, or in certain settings, in certain relationships?

Well, I mean, to sort of state the obvious, relationships are not for the faint of heart. And part of the purpose of relationships, and the gift really… I mean, it can feel like a pretty lousy gift, but anyway… is that relationships bring a lot to the surface to be healed. It's where the most intimate parts of ourselves get reflected back at us. Sometimes in ways we didn't expect.

My client Maya, who was in Anchored two to three years ago, came to the program largely because of this kind of situation, which had shown up several times in her life. Maya is the epitome of the strong, self-reliant, fiercely independent woman, most of the time. She spent her 20s carving out a life on her own terms, never letting anyone else's opinion knock her off course.

And we've talked about this on the show, hyper independence can be a form of emotional outsourcing. Where we are buffering against feeling a lot of feelings… anyway, I won't take us too far off course. I just want to make it clear I'm not like, “Yay, hyper independence!” Never, my angels; interdependence. Captain ADHD.

Fast forward to 27, and Maya is in her first serious, serious relationship. And suddenly, seemingly overnight, the confident ‘say it like it is, Maya’ starts tiptoeing around, putting her partner's happiness way ahead of her all. It's not just about wanting to make him happy; it feels like her entire self-worth is now hitched to his approval wagon.

She feels like she's being someone else without even realizing it. And it's a tale as old as time for so many of us caught in the crossfire between our independence and this almost desperate need to connect and please. If you're nodding along with this feeling, I’m saying, “Know you're not alone in this, you perfect panda paw.” Walking this tightrope between selfidentity and the craving for connection is part of being human.

And when you have emotional outsourcing habits, thinking/feeling ways of being, there's so much intensity to keep others happy and pleased with us, which can leave us feeling split in two. Acknowledging this weird and uncomfortable dance is the first step on the road to finding balance. Balance, meaning, of course, interdependence.

Stepping into a relationship can feel like flipping a switch for those of us who lean into codependent or people-pleasing living. All of the issues and relating that we grew up with, all the healthy relationship-ing, that was definitely not modelled for us. The stories about our worth, hanging out right under the surface, suddenly get amplified with a +1 by our side.

My nerds, the how and why lies, you guessed it, in science. So, let's start by taking a peek at some common threads in our psychological makeup, which is heavily influenced by those first attachments in our lives. Attachment Theory, which we talked about in Episodes 183-184-185, 135 and 214; it's a hot topic around here. Attachment theories about whether we felt fundamentally safe and secure with our earliest caregivers, or not.

And it doesn't just have to be physical safety. You can have been completely physically safe, fed, taken care of in those physical ways at home, but not felt emotionally safe. And this is very much the case for folks with emotionally immature parents, or emotionally labile or unavailable, or sort of unreliable parents or caregivers.

So, attachment is about survival relationships, which children have to have with those caring for them, because they don't know how to drive. While our adult relationships are not attachment relationships, because adult love is conditional, we can learn a lot about our tendencies and habits from how we related to our adults growing up and the attachment style we had with them.

We can then understand what is likely to get triggered when we're in a romantic or other intimate relationship, because of course, our inner children come up and try to steer the bus. That's their job after all. If you've got an anxious attachment style, you might find yourself defaulting to the clingier needs-heavy side of codependent and people-pleasing experience.

Almost like you're programmed to secure love at all costs, fearing abandonment at every turn. Often, because your grownups weren't folks to be securely attached to growing up. You were smarter than to trust them to stick around, so you tried to wrangle them into it.

Taking on that good-girl persona getting the straight A's, keeping them company being their little pet, keeping your authenticity at bay. And being the false self you were smart enough to know they want you to be.

That habitual way of relating comes up when we're in romantic relationships because they're the ones closest to our attachment relationships. It's sort of as though these patterns are lying in wait, ready to spring into action the moment a relationship comes onto the scene. And because science, this is called “reenactment,” we often unwittingly seek out partners who are similar to our original caregivers.

So yeah, we might just attract that person who tends to avoid committing and they might be attracted to us. But like oil and water, or the wrong side of magnets, we're really going to eff with one another when we try to connect, and are likely to activate or trigger each other's inner children and nervous systems.

Yeah, you're doing great on your own, but in relationship your old wounding around safety, worth, connection, authenticity, all come to the surface when another person pushes your little buttons, that maybe haven't been pushed in a minute.

Or the stories we tell about how other people should behave, and our deep-seated beliefs about our self-worth, and it's entwinement with other people's behavior, and how relationships should work. So, what does this actually look like? “With all that I do for you I can't believe you wouldn't go pick that up for me.” This is the self-abandonment story, it's cooked in here, into these operating manuals; a partner should do this, shouldn't do that.

And if they fail to live up to our super-secret manual for them, it's because there's something wrong with us. Ouch, right? Woof. So, all of those stories, the sort of core of those stories, tend to get forged early on in kiddo-hood; ages zero to seven. And these beliefs and stories lay the groundwork for coping strategies, that generally don't serve us.

Because they're wicked painful. Because when you have an operating manual for how someone should behave that you're not telling them about, then they are going to constantly disappoint you.

So, let's mix metaphors here. Imagine carrying a map that highlights the routes to self-sacrifice and bending over backwards for others in neon colors. But it only becomes visible when you're navigating the complexities of a close relationship.

It's a Marauders Map; it vanishes when you're alone. Because we tend to put way more stock in the things our intimate partners do, compared with friends. Because from our emotional outsourcing, we take it on to mean something about us and our worth. Because we picked them. Because they're our person. Where our friends are just our friends. Intense, right?

Social Learning Theory adds another layer, suggesting that we learn our emotional outsourcing behaviors by watching and imitating those around us. Yes, my nerds, via the mirror neurons. Love a mirror neuron.

If codependent and people-pleasing thinking was modelled in our homes, then these patterns might only surface in close relationships. Because they are triggered by the familiar cues of relational dynamics similar to those growing up. Intense, right? Not un-monkey like, people naturally tend to reflect the emotions, behaviors, and attitudes of those close to them, especially in relationships.

This isn't just you copying or aping someone for the sake of it. We do that mirroring of how other people behave, because it's tied to a deeper psychological desire to be seen and appreciated by the people we care about. We all have a need to feel understood and valued. And one way this need shows up is through mirroring the actions or moods of others, hoping to connect with them more deeply or to gain their approval.

However, this natural human tendency can sometimes turn problematic, particularly in the context of how many humans socialized as women are taught to behave in relationships. Society often encourages women to put the needs and happiness of others before our own, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and harmony in our relationships.

This socialization can lead women to over emphasize mirroring in our relationships, to the point where it becomes unhealthy for us. And trying to constantly reflect what we believe our partner wants to see, we can lose sight of our own needs and desires, suppress our true feelings, ignore our own discomfort to keep our partner happy. Believing this will make our relationship better or stronger.

Lest effort to maintain what looks like a perfect relationship from the outside can trap us in a cycle where we continually diminish our own needs for the sake of our partner’s approval. And yes, this is a great example of why I talk about codependent, perfectionists, and peoplepleasing habits in the same breath as emotional outsourcing. Because they overlap and strengthen one another on the daily.

Maya’s story illustrates a sticky cobweb of experience. She started changing her behavior slowly but surely to better align with what she thought her partner wanted, hoping this would make the relationship stronger. Over time, her sense of self-worth and identity became more and more tied to how her partner saw her, and how much validation she received from him.

Instead of a partnership where both people's needs are valued, the relationship became one sided, with Maya losing herself in the process. In essence, while mirroring can be a way to build connection and empathy in relationships, healthy relationships allow both partners to be themselves, express their needs, support each other's growth, without one having to diminish themselves for the sake of the other.

And while, sure, we can lose ourselves in friendship… We talked about that in Episode 110, codependent friendships... In my experience, it's way more likely to happen in our intimate and romantic relationships. Largely because of the greater level of intimacy and vulnerability many of us experience in romantic versus friend relationships.

This intimacy fosters a deep emotional connection which can bring our codependent habits to the fore. When we open ourselves up to someone at such a profound level, we become more reliant on them for emotional support and validation and a sense of belonging.

This reliance can sometimes cross into codependent thinking, especially if one starts to derive their self-worth and identity from the relationship. And extra especially if it's what we learned from our childhood home.

Nerd Alert, once again, let's talk chemistry. Not the sparks flying kind, but the brain chemistry kind. When we're in relationships, our brains are basically throwing a neurochemical party with dopamine and oxytocin on the VIP list. I say this all the time in Anchored, and to my friends, be careful, slow, and thoughtful, and crowdsource, like really, when you are first dating someone.

Get your trusted friends, whose relationships you like, get their opinions often. Because early on in dating, my angel, my tender little mashed potato, you are on drugs. You're high on your own supply. You really are, you are on drugs. These chemicals are the life of the party, rewarding us for behaviors that keep us bonded. Behaviors that keep us bonded, right?

So, even if someone isn't necessarily good for you, or you don't feel good in it, chemicals may make you think you do. Which is why we go slowly. Because, remember, evolutionarily speaking bonded is safer than alone; because rhino is bigger than you, right? Right.

But here's the kicker, these same chemicals also end up reinforcing our emotional outsourcing. I mean, obviously unwittingly, your brain isn't like plotting against you. It's just what happens when we bond in relationship without having worked out our underlying emotional outsourcing, and without learning how to regulate our nervous system.

Speaking of which, let's talk Polyvagal Theory; adding another fascinating layer to this complex human relationship cake. The theory sheds light on how our nervous systems regulation of social behaviors and emotional responses can sometimes lead us down the path of increased codependent and people-pleasing living when we're in a duo.

It's like our body's quest for connection and safety gets dialed up to 11, pushing us towards those behaviors in an attempt to maintain harmony and attachment. If you know not from Polyvagal theory, check out episodes 174-48-61-135-213. There are so many more. I love the nervous system.

When we aren't regulated or able to regulate ourselves in relationship, of course our nervous system attaches hard to someone, sometimes anyone, who we believe can keep us safe. It's mammal 101.

Neuroscience takes the stage next, spotlighting neuroplasticity; our brain's ability to rewire itself through our interactions and relationships. This means that for those regularly engaging in emotional outsourcing, these behaviors can get kind of hardwired. But don't despair, right? It's just that they get tougher to break away from, but it's not impossible.

For sure, it's a vicious cycle where behavior influences the brain, and the brain in turn reinforces the behavior. For Maya, every sacrifice and people-pleasing move wasn't just a temporary choice, but a step towards cementing these responses as her default in relationships. Which I'm so glad she came to Anchored when she did.

So again, despair not. The same plasticity or moldability and changeability of the brain, lights up a path of hope. Just as patterns of codependency and people pleasing have been sculpted into the neural pathways, new patterns, emphasizing autonomy, interdependence, selfassertion can also be forged.

And this is what we do in Anchored. It's the core of what I do with my clients. We look at all the stories, thoughts, neural pathways in their perfect brain keeping them in old patterns, and start to shift their ways of thinking, while also working somatically or with the body to shift the stories held there.

Doing both mindset work and somatic work at the same time is the magic of the work I do. And to toot my own horn, it's pretty wowzers. For Maya, adopting these somatic and mindset practices, along with mindfulness, opened up a space for her to pause. To recognize her people-pleasing impulses without immediately acting on them, giving her the chance to choose a different path.

This ability to change, though daunting at first for sure… I get that… is within our grasp. Which highlights the brain and nervous systems incredible capacity for adaptation and growth.

Let us not sidestep the elephant in the room, the societal and environmental scripts that sing praises of self-sacrifice and loyalty, often framing codependent behaviors in a rather overly romantic light while, of course, maligning those who actually see themselves in the definition of codependency. Isn't that a kick in the teeth, right?

These cultural norms influence us deeply, and shape our expectations and actions in profound ways. The widespread belief that true love requires selfsacrifice and absolute loyalty pushes people towards codependent behaviors, setting unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships.

This idea, reinforced by media and societal norms, suggests that love is about putting your partner's needs above your own, always. To a point where your own identity and wellbeing are compromised. While this might seem noble… I think that's the trope, it's noble… it actually encourages really unhealthy relationship dynamics. Where our self-esteem becomes overly dependent on our partners approval.

Society often criticizes those who prioritize their own needs, labeling them as selfish, particularly when it's women… let's be real… and saying that they're not fully committed to their relationships.

This not only glorifies codependent thinking but also makes it harder for individuals to establish healthy boundaries and maintain their own sense of self in a relationship. The result is a culture that confuses love with losing oneself in another, making balance and supportive partnerships way more difficult to achieve.

Bringing in an intersectional lens, it’s clear how layers of oppression, from the patriarchy to capitalism to racism, xenophobia, ableism, etc., play their part in our stepping into these emotional outsourcing habits. These forces actively shape our day-to-day lives and intimate exchanges, especially for those standing at the intersections of marginalization.

The patriarchy, once again, enforces a pecking order in relationships that often relegates women and femmes, particularly women of color, to roles where their needs are benchmarked.

Capitalism crafts a narrative where an individual's value is often gauged by their economic contributions, disproportionately impacting those from less affluent backgrounds. In relationships, this can lead to a dynamic where economic dependence is leveraged, intensifying codependent patterns as a means of survival. So yeah, none of that is an issue when you're not dating, and is when you are; makes math, right?

For those navigating the crossroads of these oppressive systems, their codependent and people-pleasing behaviors emerge not just as personal or personality traits, and certainly not as defects, but as responses to a world that leaves scant room for their true autonomy; aka, you're not broken, the system is. Well, actually the system is not broken, the system's working exactly as it's meant to, to make you believe that you're broken. So, there's that.

Hey, want to talk remedies? Let's talk remedies. Actually, let's pause and let's take a breath. I'm going to take a slow, deep breath; because that was a lot. Let's take a breath in, and long slow out. I'm going to give my body a little shake. So, I’m shaking my little paws. I'm shaking my butt. I'm shaking my legs. Shaking it out.

It's a lot to think about, all the ways that we become emotional outsourcers. How that becomes our habit, and how it impacts our lives so intensely, right? It's a lot.

So, let's talk some remedies. Overthrow the patriarchy. I mean, that's a good one, right? But let's kitten step to it. Okay, let's start kitten stepping with remembering who you are when you're alone. When you're just taking care of you. Which, interdependence. We're never doing just that, but I think you know what I'm saying, right?

And if you've been momming for a long time, or what have you, and it's been forever since you were the only person on your care list, it can take a minute to reconnect, to remember, so be patient. What often happens, is that we build up this beautiful scaffolding to support ourselves as adults coming from the families we come from.

Meditation, exercise, journaling, prayer, ceremony, ritual, time with friends, time alone, hobbies, etc., become the backbone of our wellness. And what I see so often, is that we get swept up in the newness and excitement and joy of a relationship. Remember, you're also on drugs early on. And in all of that excitement we let our scaffolding fall to the wayside.

So, it's no wonder we lose track with our own grounding, we're not doing the grounding things. The first step is to think back to when you felt best and most yourself, and ask: What are the scaffolding things that best supported me? Get really clear on what works best for you, what supports you best, and begin to slowly add those things back in.

For me, I know it's when I was living in San Francisco, when I was at UCSF. I was riding my Piaggio all over town. I was exercising a ton. Spending a lot of time in the park, at the oceans, so much time with friends, meditating. I worked at the Zen hospice so I was in meditation a lot. And I let that vision of me guide my self-care now, right?

So, get really clear on what works best for you. What has historically worked best for you may not be what works best for you now, so get curious and begin to slowly add those things back.

Listen, I know it can be hard to take space when you're in the throes of something new and exciting. I know it can be hard to take space when you haven't done it in years or decades. And finding a way to get even a few moments to yourself a day can do wonders.

I want to invite you to dedicate a few minutes, it can be three if that's what you've got, to write about your feelings, decisions, and interactions. Okay, also just saying, it can be three like: Are you doing scrolling? Are you watching mindless TV while doom scrolling? I want to hold space for the parents, for the moms, working full time with a bunch of kids. Yeah, life is busy. I get it.

And while I want to hold space for you doing… What your maximum might be quite a small amount of time right now... But I'm also curious about when are you buffering? When are you checking out of life? And could you use some of that time to check in? Just putting it out there, no judgies; just offering, right?

But okay, again, taking those few moments to write about your feelings, decisions, and interactions. This is a different kind of journaling than the factual accounting journaling that many of us do. Which is like, “Dear Diary, Jeremy pulled my hair today. Also, I saw a turtle.” Not dissing that, I'm just saying that focusing on your emotions in your journaling can be a really helpful way to reconnect with them.

Once that habit seems steady for you, focus on moments you’ve felt urged to please others, to put yourself aside for others. And begin to explore the emotions driving those actions. Once you've been writing for a few weeks, you can start to look for recurring themes in your journal.

Are there specific situations or people that you feel more compelled to step into codependent habits with? Recognizing these patterns is a really important step.

Next, journal about the things you love, value, and cherish about yourself and your life when you're single or on vacation, or away from your partner or your family or your job. Get really clear on who you like to be, how you like to spend your time. The more clear you are when you're alone with you, the more you can be clear when you're with your person in your real day-to-day life.

Set some goals. Based on your insight, set specific, achievable goals for yourself. For instance, this week, I will express one need or desire openly, in a situation where I might usually defer to somebody else's preference. As always, I recommend starting where it's warm. Don't try to pet the Barracuda, pet the sweet little starfish who hath no teeths. You came for the science, you stayed for the metaphors.

That is, start with someone kind who is likely to say, “Aww, thanks for sharing,” and not bite your paw off. Got it? Okay, so that was one, the journaling, and the introspection.

Two, regulate your nervous system. This is a lifelong practice for all of us, and it's vital. When you're dysregulated, meaning imbalance in your nervous system… your nervous system is running you instead of you consciously having input… everything is more challenging, and we're all more likely to go back into our childhood survival skills. Work with a coach like me, or a therapist, who can teach you how to regulate and can guide you through the process.

Three, mindfulness practices can be really helpful as you practice remembering who you are and regulating your nervous system. So many of us live unintentionally. Episode 84 is all about this. We often aren't even aware of what's going on and how we're changing our behavior. So, we need to build the muscle of self-awareness. Awareness is healing, for sure.

A mindful pause, and self-reconnection is key. You can ask yourself some questions like: Why are you with a person who brings these habits out in you? Great question, right? That is to say, what part of you still needs healing, so that you don't go back into these old ways in a new relationship? What is it serving within you for you to be acting this way? How is it helping a part of you?

I highly recommend meditation as a way to help you reconnect with yourself. Silence isn't always cozy, at first. I get it. Meditation isn't for everyone. There's an episode all about that, cool, cool, but slowly getting quiet with yourself is truly deeply life changing.

As one of the loudest people I've ever, the most talkative, the most chatterbox, I cannot recommend silence with self enough. Towards that end, consider beginning or ending your day with a short meditation, focusing on your breath and bodily sensations, if that feel safe enough. Start with a minute and work from there.

Perform regular body scans. It's a beautiful way to get attuned to your physical sensations and emotional states. Again, only if that feels safe. I recorded you a free body scan meditation, because I love you. You can get it on the web page for this episode. Go to Badabing, easy peasy. And you can download that for free.

Finally, when someone asks you for something, to do something, to go somewhere, practice taking a pause before responding. Just like a moment, or overnight, or “Oh yeah, I'll get back to you tomorrow,” right? And use this time to consider your true capacity and true desire

Four, set boundaries. Now, I know, if you're like, “But I'm in the depths of my emotional outsourcing,” nobody expects you to be able to, boom, set boundaries. It's wildly challenging to do when your nervous system is activated or unregulated, when your inner children are all stirred up, so again, gentle, compassionate, patient kitten steps, okay?

We start with clearly identifying what we are comfortable with, and what we are not in various aspects of life. That's how we define our boundaries. So, this can include your time, emotional energy, physical space, personal values. Start by getting it down on paper for yourself. And then, as always, start voicing your limits with someone tenderoni.

We practice asking for help. We practice saying no. We practice saying yes. We do it a lot in Anchored because it's a safer place. Everyone there has a wicked tender heart; I call it a “teddy bear convention.” I mean, it really is. Everyone is so kind. We're there to cheer each other on. It's a safer space. So, find your safer space.

Come join us in Anchored, find a community near you, it can even just be one friend. You don't need to complicate this. Or if animals are easier, start talking about your boundaries with your pets. Who says that's not legit. Right? Talk to plants. I'm an animist, everything is alive… and I won't go down that road. But talk to your pets, set boundaries. “I won't have you barking at me that way.”

But, for real, script and rehearse. What we're doing… Really, the work is hearing yourself out loud saying the boundary. And it really makes it a lot less scary the more often you do that. So, script and rehearse.

And finally, on that tip of community, it's everything. Make a list of people in your life who you feel safe with and supported by, and schedule regular check-ins with your support network, to share progress, setbacks and insight. This accountability can be incredibly motivating.

And really start to cultivate a culture of celebration. I want to encourage you to keep a success journal. I have a “Victories journal,” because ,you know, Victoria… But record your achievements, no matter how small, in a dedicated little notebook. It can be a 99-cent notebook from the corner store. Hit up the bodega. Don't make it complicated.

This can include moments where you maintained a boundary, expressed a need, or declined a request respectfully. “Oh, thanks so much. I'm actually not drinking tonight. It doesn't feel good for my body to drink during the week. I know you love going out and partying. That's cool. No judgies. It’s just not for me.” Whoa, look at you.

Periodically review that journal and reflect on your growth over time. Recognize and honor the effort and progress you've made even in the face of setbacks. And, as always, I'm out here harping about community all the time. In Anchored we share our celebrations every single day, but especially on Fridays. Share it, let others celebrate you. It’s beautiful.

My dearest friends, as we wrap up our dive into the tangled web of emotional outsourcing in relationships let's remember this. While the journey may be fraught with challenges, it's also brimming with opportunities for profound healing and growth. You are not condemned to repeat the past. You have the power to rewrite your story. To step out of the shadow world habits and into the light of selfawareness and autonomy.

Remember Maya, who found her way through the thicket of dependency to reclaim her vibrant sense of self? Her journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. a reminder that it's possible to untangle the knots of our past, and weave a new narrative of strength and independence.

Maya decided that while she still wanted to date this new guy, and was still really excited about him, she only wanted to see him on weekends for a while. And she wanted to make sure to have at least two dates a week with girlfriends, and two dates a week with herself. Ah, I love that.

As we move forward, let's carry with us the understanding that while the roots of our behaviors may be deep and complex, they are not immutable. With each small step towards self-reflection, each boundary set, each moment of mindfulness, we plant the seeds of change. These seeds can grow into a garden of self-respect, mutual respect, and genuine connection. Where the dance of relationships is one of harmony, not discord.

So, my sweet little peanut butter pretzel, as you journey through the landscape of your relationships, remember to nurture the most important relationship you have, the one with yourself. It's from this place of inner strength and self-compassion that you can truly thrive in connection with others, building relationships that reflect the fullness of your being.

You are capable of navigating the complexities of love and connection with wisdom and grace, I know you are. You are deserving of relationships that honor your wholeness, where you can stand strong and your truth, your needs, and your desires. So, breathe in deeply, my darling tender ravioli, and let your heart open to the boundless possibility of a life lived with authenticity and love.

Together, we are on a journey of discovery, learning, and growth. And remember, you're not alone on this path. I'm right here with you, cheering you on every step of the way. Because you, my darling, are perfect, magical, and amazing exactly as you are.

Thanks for listening. I hope this has been supportive. If you are loving what you're hearing on the show, if you're loving the remedies, and you want my support and guidance and love and care in a beautiful community… To make what you're hearing here, these stories of change, a reality in your own life, then Anchored may be the place for you.

Head on over to We are taking applications right now. The sooner you join, the more free stuff you get invited to, so do not dally, my darling. Head on over, the application takes five, six minutes. It's no big deal. Join us. It really is the most incredible experience, and I would love to share it with you.

All right, my angel, let's do what we do. A gentle hand on your heart, should you feel so moved. And remember, you are safe. You are held. You are loved. And, when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Feminist Wellness. If you want to learn more all about somatics, what the heck that word means, and why it matters for your life, head on over to for a free webinar all about it. Have a beautiful day my darling, and I'll see you next week. Ciao.

Enjoy the Show?

• Don’t miss an episode, listen and follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or RSS.

Leave a review in Apple Podcasts.

• Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!