Made for Change with Dr. Janny Chang

Ep. 8: Our Codependent Relationships with Work, Part II

March 19, 2022 Dr. Janny Chang
Made for Change with Dr. Janny Chang
Ep. 8: Our Codependent Relationships with Work, Part II
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is a continuation of our previous discussion of our codependent relationship with work. In this episode, Part II, you will learn tools and strategies to mitigate codependent behaviors. 

You will learn:
1) The key questions to ask yourself if this job or career or industry is the right place for you and how to know that
2) How to "shine the spotlight" on yourself so that you prioritize your own needs and wants
3) How to create and design the life you want and make sure your job or career and everything else fits into your vision of the life you want
4) Why mitigating codependent behaviors is all about turning inward and focusing on you

 Hi, lovely friends. Thank you for tuning in. Again. This is part two now of our codependency and workplace podcast episode and I wanted to talk more about what we can do to mitigate codependent behaviors. And so I'm gonna recap a little bit. Also, excuse me, a little cough going in the morning. It's morning time, kids are up, my husband is still sleeping, it's super early, I got my cup of tea, I'm loving this weather in Dallas. It's been fickle. 

So yesterday we had hail or two days ago get hail. But today, the sun is shining brightly my loves, it is gorgeous outside. And it just goes to show when there's rain and thunderstorms, there's always going to be a day where there's sunlight, and beautiful weather right after. So we just stick with it, you know, we go that's kind of like it reminds me of the 5050 of life, right? Let you know 50% of the time, you've got the sun, you've got the beautiful days and you enjoy it. And then 50% of the time, you've got the dark, rainy days, and you can still enjoy it too. Or you learn how to cope with that by bundling up or cuddling up inside or you know, your go twos of self care in those days. But also just keep going and knowing that there's going to be a change for the better in the future. So I always hold on to that thought the weather patterns remind me of that, of course, there's global warming, and we won't get into that. But anyway, I digress. 

Alright, so excuse my cough here in the in the early in the morning. I wanted to recap what I talked about in part one, about codependency in the workplace. And so I talked about the main core question to ask, you know, and to ask ourselves with regards to codependency is, is, am I relying on my work for my sense of self worth and validation, right. And as I mentioned in that previous episode, it's not just about work, because if we're doing it at work, we're likely also doing it in other areas of our lives. You know, and if you say quit your job, or you take on something else, it's likely that that pattern will continue if we aren't becoming aware of it and working on it, and not working on it in the sense of constant improvement, not that kind of perfectionistic attitude, but more just being aware and recognizing that we can let it go for ourselves, you know, and so much of my work and what I love about coaching in the way I do it is it's based on love and compassion for ourselves. So you know, when we ask our about codependent behaviors when we try to analyze it, and become aware in our own lives. When it happens.

We can always sit beforehand and give ourselves that big hug and, and send ourselves a lot of love because it's really not about shaming, or saying, Oh, you are so code or labeling, right, because everyone engages in codependent behavior to some degree, excuse me, and it is not about coming from a family that has dysfunctions. I mean, you could come from a family where it's very loving and you can still engage in codependent behaviors. Because again, it's also about societal conditioning, as women or as marginalized groups, you know, we're even as men, you know, you can take that on but the point is, is not about labor.

And stigmatizing and saying, if you're codependent, you must come from bad parents or any of that, right? So that we don't do that here. I don't do that, right? I'm talking about first and foremost, the foundation is coming from a sense of love and compassion for myself. And then I start to ask well, where in my life, you know, am I seeking that sense of self worth and validation outside of me, you know, in his work one of those places. And while that may have worked really well, in the past, I can give myself permission to let it go out of love, and change that, okay, so that's really what the core of this work is all about. The five ways in which it shows up the workplace. And these are by no means an exhaustive list. It is just five ways or the common ways that it shows up is the first is constant approval seeking from Boss and co workers. Second is difficulty separating your work from home life. Third, is easily feeling stressed at work because you're just taking on people's problems, and too many tasks by trying to prove yourself right. The fourth is you're more loyal to your company or organization than they are to you. And that is you don't even question that right. About loyalty. Are they loyal to you. And the fifth is when your identity and passion and empathy and concern for cars is used against against you. And by that I mean, it's touted as a reason to overwork or not have a work life balance or to accept lower pay or bad working conditions.

Okay, so So those those are the five ways. And

like I said,

two is that we can think of our job as a romantic partner. What kind of relationship do we have with our job, our work, our career, our business?

What kind of life do we have? What kind of life do we want? Okay. The foundational question that we want to ask is, what kind of life do I want for me? What are my own thoughts and opinions? When you find yourself engaging codependent tendencies? It's because you're focused on someone else trying to serve their needs. So much so that your own needs and wants become secondary. But what you want to do is turn the spotlight back on you and say, What about me? What are my thoughts needs? What are my wants? What kind of life do I want?

Now, here's the thing about our role in our agency. In a codependent relationship with work, it is up to us to draw those boundaries. And we can more easily draw, enforce those boundaries, if we constantly come back to who we are and what we want. Because codependency says it's about them. It's about my job, or my career, or the people I serve. And as long as you give them the power to dictate your happiness, and your sense of fulfillment, then you will easily get overworked and burned out. As long as your sense of identity is so intertwined with your work. And this could be any other part of your life, you lose yourself, you lose yourself in the process, and it's not worth it. So you're at the process for you, before you create any boundaries, is to figure out who am I? What do I enjoy doing? What kind of life do I envision for myself? And in everything else, right, everything else, your kids, your family life, your work life, all of that's gonna fit into the puzzle. Once you get the core piece sorted out, the core piece is you, not you, the mom, or you, the professor, or you the manager or you the humanitarian, and be aware of the humanitarian part because even people who do a lot of good in this world can use it as a crutch to avoid doing the inner work on themselves. We call spiritual bypassing now. So just because you're doing great work, right, does that mean that you don't have codependent tendencies? Right? Because it could be that you're using that as a way to avoid doing the inner work on you shining the spotlight on you, right? So It's you It's you that is deep within yourself. And it's you that has that joy and pleasure and meaning and believes that you can experience all of that in your life. That's the you that we want to ask

cover and no. And make clear about your wants and needs.

Once you figure out who you are, then we can talk about what kind of life you want, right? Think about what kind of relationship you want with work and other parts of your life. Right? Like I said, Imagine your work as a job, you know, as work in terms of your Job, Business or side project, like it's a romantic partner, right? How would you describe your romantic partner? Is this partner kind? And funny and enjoyable? And challenges you in the best way? Or is this partner kind of abusive, right, like some jobs are right? Like they tend to gaslight you and berate you and insult you and never give you enough to fulfill your needs. But yet they expect you to do everything for them a one way street. That's, that can be a job, right? Just like romantic partner. And in this relationship, as you just keep on giving a you're not getting anything in return, you will start to question right, like, or you should start to question, why am I here? Still? Why do I stay?

Excuse me. Now.

That's how to think about your job, right? Or chosen career like a relationship partner, because you're going to be working a lot of hours a day, is so important that you have a healthy work relationship. And once you've determined the kind of relationship you want with your job, then you can create those boundaries based on the kind of life you want, right? And the relationship you want with work, you know, boundaries to think about what kind of salary do I want and need? What's the promotion and salary increase process? What kind of work culture do I desire.

If it's a toxic work culture, then I'm going to leave the job that might be a boundary you set. Once it becomes toxic, and I can define toxic in these ways, you can go ahead and write that down, then I'm going to leave my job. You know, if they only do salary increases when the budget allows, and there's no formal process, then I'm not going to take the job. Or if I'm already in the job, I'm going to leave the job, right. Another boundary to think about is your relationship with your boss and co workers. If the life I envisioned for myself was to have a lot of time to write, because I love to write, and it fills me up, then I want to have a relationship with my boss where that's respected, that I have a life outside of work. My boundary might be when it's 5pm. And after, I'm not going to respond to emails from my boss or coworkers.

I have not met anyone who values or enjoys overworking themselves. So if you're in a job that overworks you, then the antidote to that is creating and enforcing those boundaries, learning to say, No.

learning to say no. And that means no to tasks, to events that you don't have to attend,

to functions to tasks that are overly assigned to you. communicating that with your boss and your colleagues about when you have too much on your plate and you need help taking all of your paid time off, take those mental health days, right this is these are you know about creating and enforcing those healthy boundaries, with work and just like you would do in a romantic partner relationship.

To be able to enforce those boundaries successfully. You have to do the inner work yourself. shining the spotlight on yourself may feel uncomfortable at first. But this is part of the process of allowing yourself to shine to uncover what it is that you need and want to prioritize those needs and wants. And then to be better able to draw healthy boundaries. Because so much of what drives you to codependent behavior is the sense that you aren't worthy and that you need your job to make you feel validated and enough. So the inner journey for you is to build that trust in yourself and to recognize all the ways in which you are already enough my loves you are enough. You totally Are you are worthy as you are right now.

Now once you feel enough and worthy, and for some that might be a process, right, that might take some time. For others it might be a little bit more immediate, but that's okay. We're all in different stages and parts of our lives. And like I said before,

Hoard. All of this is to love ourselves, give ourselves compassion and grace. So, you know, if you feel like, Oh, I'm just, I still sometimes have these like, moments where I really don't feel worthy. That's okay. That's okay. It's all part of the journey. It's not like you're still gonna wake up one morning be like, Oh, I feel so worthy, right? What does that mean to you, it just means this, it means that every day it gets a little bit better, you're inching a little bit forward to what that might look like, right. And that you start to pay more attention to your own self, wants and needs. That's it, that's it just little by little every day, as long as you pay more attention to that, then you're in the right direction, it doesn't matter what the ultimate outcome is, we're not focused on that, right. So when you feel

worthy, and enough, irrespective of the job you have, or title you have, or income you have or how you performing your job, then you are not going to need that right to fill your void.

How do you then build trust within yourself? And I would say very small baby steps, very small baby steps. You start by journaling, or even making recordings where you talk to yourself. Just asking yourself some questions each day starting with how do I feel today? What's going to bring me joy today? Right? Really simple. Do that for a few weeks, and then maybe commit to a small goal. And you build trust by mobilizing your thoughts and feelings towards that goal. So maybe say for example, you want to write a short story in three months. So how do you break that up into many steps? Maybe the first month, you read a short story each week, then the second month, you start writing your short story, and you do it free flow style, right? In the third month, you might want to go through and edit that story. So in each month, break down your days on what you want to do each day towards that monthly goal. So you read a short story, maybe all you're doing is asking yourself questions about the story. And then journaling about it write maybe that might just be the for the first month. And then you constantly check in with yourself every day, how do I feel? What are my thoughts about this? Is this frustrating for me? Do I feel like I'll never be able to write my own short story. So whatever it is, you just got to jot that down. And just by jotting it down, you find yourself paying more attention to your own thoughts and needs and wants as you're moving towards a goal, right. And that starts to help you build trust in yourself, and to also establish a better relationship with yourself.

Right? Because you're constantly reflecting back on yourself, what you're feeling and thinking as you're moving towards something, right. So you're also getting to know yourself better, right? And that's going to help mitigate co dependencies in your life, and in work and help you create the life you want. Right. And just like some people stay at jobs, that aren't right for them, or relationships that aren't right for them for way too long. You know, again, something to ask yourself, as you're exploring all of this with boundaries, you know, is am I in the right industry? Or, you know, if my boundaries constantly are violated and disrespected? Why do I keep staying here? Right? In some work cultures, you're basically conditioned to adopt a set of beliefs that serve the organization or corporation or industry. And you it's up to you to assess whether that culture is healthy, by the reaction to dissension voices, right. So if you're in an industry where it's frowned upon to take time off from work, then that's a red flag, you know, consistently, you see that happening. And even as you try to establish and enforce your own boundary, it's constantly being violated. You know, maybe you want to question why you're there. And you also want to question in that industry, if the culture is such that they extol and praise the overworked person, maybe you want to think about changing industries, and that's where career change, right, will be instigated. And you're going to go through that process, right. But before that point, and you want to really think, is this where I want to be? Right? You know, I think about my experience of academia where I was trained, and that's a total interest. That's an industry that's rife with codependent behaviors from the get go, from the time you start your PhD program all the way to getting an academic job, and then getting tenure, because of the scarcity mentality and the strict hierarchies and the politics of the workplace. And it is an industry that can trigger codependent tendencies, that is people with codependent tendencies.

thrive in those environments. And that's not necessarily good thing, right? It is not healthy. And it's not just academia with the great resignation and so many people changing their jobs or leaving their jobs. That means budgetary changes in companies. It also means more workload is being shifted and placed on small teams that are left. That's a definite trigger for activating codependent behavior. Because that workload is going to have to fall on someone and the onus then the onus is then on you, the individual to draw boundaries, and to say no, and to also ask yourself whether you want to keep staying. Right? The repercussions of you drawing those boundaries is going to vary from industry to industry, and organization organization. Like I said, in some industries, it's very frowned upon, right for certain boundaries, right? Being a martyr is praised, you know. So that's kind of when you want to think about making a more long term shift, right? My coaching and my podcast focuses on turning inward for you, and you figuring out the kind of life you want. And your job and your career should fit into the life you want rather than the other way around. Because as long as you keep focused on what the industry or company is doing wrong, we're focused on what's outside of you. And you're not focusing on you and what you want and need in order to thrive challenging these codependent tendencies involves turning that spotlight back to you, where you are the star of your own play, you decide the kind of life you want to lead.

Alright, my friends, oh, I'm just getting all tingly just even thinking about this, just how exciting it is for us to envision the life we want. And everything else falls into that, right? We are here to live, to live and not to overwork ourselves, and just stretch ourselves, and also then develop a nervous system that is so dysregulated, right, that we become so detached from our bodies and not even be able to feel what we're feeling. That's what I see in some of my clients. That can happen when you're put under chronic stress. And we don't recognize it right. 

So all of this is about being better in touch with our inner self, our inner needs and wants, recognizing how important that is. Recognizing also the importance of our nervous system, in our relationship with ourselves and how that gets impacted by work by also, more importantly, the thoughts and beliefs we have about our relationship to work, right. And so that's why we want to unpack that. And we want to work through that. And always always, with the belief that we are already worthy at this very moment and to give ourselves that love and compassion that we so want and need. And to give the inner child in us the one who use these coping strategies to survive, to give the inner child our blessings and say, Yeah, you were amazing. You did what you needed to do in that time in my life. But now I want to say I can take care of things now. And now we can release the codependent tendencies, and we can gradually change.

Alright, my love's I wish you all the best this weekend hope you have

really carving out intentional space to reflect on you and to build that trust with yourself and to just get to know yourself better. Right? I mean, our relationship with ourselves is, is prime it is so important and yet oftentimes we're so focused on other people right socializes women to focus on others, including our kids and everyone else. But what about us? What about us so I urge you this weekend, to do something that focuses on you to find something that gives you joy and even just to sit there in silence and just sit with yourself. Spend some time with yourself.

Treat yourself and talk to yourself as you would

to your best friend or to your children or to your pet right. Wherever you shower that abundant love, right shower that to you. Give that to yourself. That's what I wish for you more than anything. Alright my dears

Want to sign off now? Again? Email me Janny Chang one, the number Follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I'd love to hear from you. Please also write a review for my podcast episode I'm giving out free journals for the first five reviews. Alright take care my lovelies. I will see you next time.