Why High-Achieving Women Struggle To Set Boundaries

High-achieving women can struggle to set boundaries. 

If you’re managing an endless to-do list and many responsibilities you likely have a tendency to over-deliver, over-give, people please and ignore your own needs instead of setting strong boundaries. 

While you may get positive reinforcement from doing all the things for all the people (especially from those who benefit from your over-giving like your boss, colleagues, spouse, kids, family and friends), having poor boundaries is a recipe for burnout (and over drinking). 

In fact, high-achieving women often suffer from perfectionism, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, anxiety and the inability to set healthy boundaries with others. 

Creating healthy boundaries is an important skill to master as you’re quitting drinking and yet it’s something that many women who struggle with alcohol find difficult. 

We find it’s easier to work ourselves really hard taking care of others and then numbing out with a bottle of wine as our one reward at the end of a hard day.  

So I invited Terri Cole to join me on The Hello Someday Podcast to talk about how you can become a boundary boss and honor your own needs and desires.

Terri Cole is a licensed Psychotherapist, a Global Relationship and Empowerment Expert and the author of Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, and (Finally) Live Free

Let’s start with the basics…

What are boundaries?

Terri describes boundaries as your preferences, limits, deal breakers and non-negotiables. They’re your own personal rules of engagement. When you set boundaries you let other people know what’s okay with you and what is not okay with you. 

Many busy women may think they don’t have a boundary issue but rather too many responsibilities. 

They have careers and children, aging parents and good friends, a spouse and a household to manage. They have too much to do and too few hours in the day. They’re trying to keep all the balls in the air and believe that none can drop (and that no one can help them manage them). 

However, high-achieving women often struggle not only with setting healthy external boundaries with the people in their lives but also healthy internal boundaries with themselves. 

The reluctance to set firm boundaries can often be traced back to childhood. Most girls were groomed to be helpful and kind, to volunteer and get straight A’s, to do as were told and value how well liked we are by those around us. 

However, as we grow up the inability to set healthy boundaries can lead us to become self-abandoning and is a recipe for resentment, burnout and unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

What is high-achieving codependency?

Over-giving and over-delivering can mask high-achieving codependency and an internal struggle to set boundaries with the people around us. 

High-achieving codependency is when you are overly invested in the feeling states, outcomes, circumstances and situations of the people in our lives to the detriment of your own internal peace, financial, physical, spiritual or emotional well being.

Poor boundaries and high-achieving codependency can lead you to self-sabotage in early sobriety, so as you’re quitting drinking your job is to become a boundary boss. 

The first step to becoming a boundary boss is to identify if you have disordered internal boundaries. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself about internal boundaries:

  • How do you show up for yourself? Do you keep your word to yourself?
  • Do you treat yourself the same as you would a friend or colleague? 
  • Do you hold yourself in high regard in the same way you do others? Or do you work yourself to death? 
  • Do you not rest when you’re tired? Do you say yes, when you really should say no to something, because you don’t want to let others down? 
  • Do you continue to give to others when you’re burnt out, instead of taking care of yourself? 

The problem with disordered external boundaries, internal boundaries and being self-abandoning is that you’ll never be fully empowered, fully self expressed in your life or fully known until you learn to set healthy boundaries with yourself and others. 

Setting boundaries helps you to identify what you want and what you need, and it helps your interactions with others. Setting and maintaining boundaries means knowing what your values are, listening to your intuition, and learning how to communicate clearly and respectfully. 

Your boundaries can be as simple as telling loved ones not to touch your recovery journal and asking your partner for Saturday mornings to take care of yourself, or as complicated as keeping triggers like alcohol out of the house. 

Tune into this episode to hear Casey and Terri discuss how to become a boundary boss. 

We’ll dive into:

  • What boundaries are and how to determine and communicate your preferences, desires, deal-breakers and non-negotiables 
  • What high-achieving codependency looks like and how to spot the signs
  • The benefits of knowing your boundary blueprint and archetype
  • The importance of knowing the people and circumstances that cause boundary problems and the 3 questions to ask yourself to identify the root problem
  • Shadow addictions and why not everyone has an addiction that’s obvious
  • How to ask for help when you are high-functioning and high-achieving

    Ready to drink less + live more?

    More About Terri Cole

    Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, global relationship and empowerment expert, and the author of Boundary Boss-The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen and (Finally) Live Free. For over two decades, Terri has worked with a diverse group of clients that includes everyone from stay-at-home moms to celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs. She has a gift for making complex psychological concepts accessible and actionable so that clients and students achieve sustainable change. She inspires over 450,000 people weekly through her blog, social media platform, signature courses, and her popular podcast, The Terri Cole Show. 

    Learn more about Terri Cole and how she can support you in setting boundaries, head to https://www.terricole.com

    Take the boundary quiz and learn more about your Boundary Style

    Listen and subscribe to Terri’s podcast The Terri Cole Show

    Follow Terri on Instagram  @terricole

    Join her free Facebook group and become a part of our powerful community of Real Love Revolutionaries!

    Related Links To High-Achieving Women, Boundaries and Mental Health


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    Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


    The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

    Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.

    In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more. 

    Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life. 

    Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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    Why High-Achieving Women Struggle To Set Boundaries


    drinking, set boundaries, women, therapist, therapy, functioning, boss, high functioning, codependency, codependent, situation, addiction, transference, disordered

    SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Terri Cole


    Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

    In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

    Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.

    Hi there. Today we are talking about boundaries and how to become a boundary boss. You may know my guest, her name is Terri Cole. She’s a licensed psychotherapist, a global relationship and empowerment expert and the author of Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, And (Finally) Live Free. For over two decades, Terri has worked with a diverse group of clients that includes everyone from stay at home moms to celebrities and fortune 500 CEOs. She has a gift for making complex psychological concepts accessible and actionable, so that clients and students achieve sustainable change. And Terri, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you here.



    Well, thanks for having me. I’m psyched to be here.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  02:12

    Yeah, I’m a big fan of your podcast and, you know, have had you recommended to me by some of the women I work with as someone I should talk to. And I know boundaries are a big challenge for a lot of women who, you know, are busy and then are sort of drinking in order to manage their stress suppress the things they’re angry about, you know, if they’re people pleasers kind of to suit their nerves, if they’re not that comfortable setting down boundaries with their partner, their boss, their colleagues, even their children.



    Yeah, you are my people.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  02:49

    So tell us a little bit about the work you do. And I did want to mention that you also are sober, which is wonderful.



    I am, for decades, for a very long time. I mean, I stopped drinking when I was 21, I think. Amazing. I did a lot of drinking, though, between 12 and 20. But I stopped early. So where do you want me to start?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  03:15

    Well, one of the things that you talk about a lot is breaking free from over-functioning, over-delivering and people-pleasing and ignoring your own needs. And I feel like that is almost every woman I know. So let’s talk about that.



    So let’s establish right now for the purposes of our conversation, and the way that I wrote it in the book and the way I teach it in my courses is what are boundaries, like I’m just going to say my definition, but I want you to think about them as your own personal rules of engagement, letting other people know what’s okay with you, and what is not okay with you. Now, that sounds simple. And it is simple. But that doesn’t make it easy, right? It’s simple because it isn’t just about knowing your boundaries, right? What’s okay with you? Is that okay with you? It’s about having the ability to communicate them clearly. And your boundaries are comprised of your preferences, your limits, and your deal breakers, like your non negotiables. And again, we cannot communicate those things until we know those things. And if you are, you know, running, you know, I call my clients like the Masters of the Universe, because they’re the super high functioning, getting it done running all the things doing all the things for all the people. But when people end up on my couch, they’ve been doing it at the expense of themselves for so long. That something has to give, like you can’t do it like that forever. You really can’t. And when you’re in your 20s you really think you’re going to be able to but you can’t like we will run out of bandwidth. 


    So from disordered boundaries, and from writing this book, and from having a therapy practice for 25 years, I would have these very high functioning women in my practice. And if I brought up codependency and said, Oh hey, you know what you’re describing as a codependent dynamic. They’d be like, no, no, no lady. You don’t understand. I’m not dependent on squat, everyone’s dependent on me. I’m making all the dough, I’m doing all the things for other people, I’m the rock in my family of origin and in my friend group and blah, blah, blah. So I was like, Oh, my clients don’t know what codependency is. 


    This is what the problem is because here’s the reason why they balked at codependency, and I would have to in my 20s, is because there’s this old school idea that codependency is Melody Beattie codependent, no more enabling an addict, Lala. And yeah, that is codependency. But it’s so much more than that to the point that, and I’ll talk about high functioning codependency and my definition of codependency, but from this book, and from the questions that so many women from all over the world that have asked me, I am writing my next book right now called High-functioning Codependency about this because it is such a talk about a pandemic, and all my epidemic.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  06:08

    I am so excited to read that book. Because, you know, I completely agree, you know, when I was working and drinking and living and, you know, I would be like, no, absolutely, I’m not codependent at all. And in the same way, I felt like I couldn’t or didn’t make any boundaries or decisions for myself.



    Right, just picking up the slack all over town. So what does codependency look like? Let’s talk about that a little bit. It’s basically being overly invested in the feeling states, the outcomes, the circumstances, the situations of the people in our lives. Yeah, to the detriment though, of our own internal peace, or our financial or physical, spiritual, emotional well being. Because here’s the thing. We’re all lovers, right? We’re all mothers, we are the caregiving people I mean, this is what we were raised to do. So, of course, we’re invested in the happiness of the people we love. But if it’s to the degree that another person’s suffering becomes your suffering. Yeah, like you really have to check your urgency when your best friend calls and is like, oh my god, here’s the crisis. Are you supporting her in a healthy way? Like, what do you think you should do? What is your gut instinct, say, helping that person in a healthy way come to their own answers, or are you like, I know someone at Sloan Kettering? I’m making a phone call. I emailed you, I just sent you 55 links. I’ve got a book I underlined like, how quickly does that person’s crisis literally and actually become your own crisis? And that’s when we know we’re relating, in a codependent way. 


    So why is this the way it is? Right? Why are we the way we are? Why don’t we know squat about boundaries, even though we’re so strong and so smart and so incredibly capable? And the answer is really simple. Literally, nobody taught us like, we learned the opposite of that. Most of us were raised and praised for being self abandoning codependence. Yeah, Bailey, right. Be a good girl. Be nice. Turn that frown around. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Where’s my happy girl? All of these things just we were groomed to be way more dialed into the feeling states and the desires of others. 


    So it starts with the adults in our lives. We’re like, I don’t know. Listen, I had a fine upbringing, right? Yeah, my father was a functioning alcoholic. My mother is an enabler. But there wasn’t like any massive abuse or anything but doesn’t matter. I was still trained to be a good girl. Yeah, I was trained to achieve. Don’t get in trouble. Don’t be a big mouth. Don’t be a drama queen, all of those things. And it was super important what other people thought of me. Yeah, that others perceived me as being nice, right, in quotes. Because of course what we’re really being taught to do is lie. We were taught to say yes when we wanted to say no, under the guise of being nice, the umbrella of being nice. And you spend a lifetime doing that. And you end up drinking, and you end up pissed and you end up frustrated and feeling used and abused by everyone. But it’s really kind of a setup and we can change that. You know.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  09:31

    I was so surprised and amazed when you said the word groomed because that was something that sort of lit up a light bulb in me. I have never thought of it that way. I mean, when you think of grooming it’s you know, sort of sexual assault or something with children. And yet when you said it, of course we’ve been groomed to please others, be helpful to others. That’s how you get your love. That’s how you get approval. And honestly, like, that’s how you get straight A’s in school when you get promoted, and you make money and are seen as a good mother. Yeah. It’s when you said that I was like, wow.



     Yeah. And it’s, here’s the thing. It’s tragic, right? In some ways, I’ve had women come into my therapy practice in their sixth or seventh decade of life, being like, Hey, I’ve done it all. Money in the bank, I still like my spouse, kids all went to Ivy League schools, you know, I go to SoulCycle three times a week, I’m on all these boards, you know, I’m volunteering. I’m doing what I want to do. Why do I feel so empty? Yes. And I’m like, because nobody friggin knows you. Because you built your life, checking boxes that somebody else constructed?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  10:49

    Yeah. And you know, what’s interesting is, when you said that about taking care of other people, I mean, I talk to women all the time who are amazing and incredible, and sort of at the top of their game. They’re doctors, they’re head of networks, they’re CEOs. And they, you know, I’m trying to help them stop drinking. And so I’m saying you need to lower the bar, you need to take care of yourself, you need to prioritize your own needs, find other coping mechanisms that aren’t your easy button, have a bottle of wine. And they’re like, I can’t, the people who report to me are working so hard, my child is having anxiety in school, my partner X my patients, you know, I can’t take on fewer patients, and they are so high achieving, and yet, they’re unhappy.



    Right? And here’s the thing, okay, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And the real thing to look at is it’s short sighted. And we also stay the way we are, because it’s what we know. And when you’re a high achieving woman, you really do not want to be doing anything you’re not masterful at, right? We don’t like it. We want to know what we’re doing and we want success to be assured. Like, if I take this on, I’m going to successfully do it. And I think that it’s a real gift to give yourself the space of learning. And if you look at becoming literate in boundaries, because that it changes your entire life for the better, I want you to think about it, like learning a new language. You wouldn’t feel bad about yourself if you weren’t just suddenly, you know, fluent in French, because you really want it to be, you would know, oh, I need a teacher. Yeah, I need a step by step guide, I need to start at least learning the language, I need to understand because the way that I teach this becoming a boundary boss, there is no one size fits all when it comes to boundaries. We’re all so different. There. 


    I created this really amazing free quiz, which can help you get your boundary archetype like when your boundaries are disordered. How does it express itself in your life? And your answers to these 13 questions will tell you if you’re more of a powerhouse, where when you’re out of balance, you’re sort of running people over getting it done, but being a little brusque about it. Or if you’re more like a peacekeeper, or a chameleon, where you’re just avoiding conflict at all costs, that people can take it at boundaryquiz.com. That’s literally it, boundaryquiz.com. It’s important though, that we know those things about ourselves. Because not everyone is so different. Your boundary blueprint. I call it my boundary blueprint. This is an unconscious paradigm of what we learned. So it’s yes, family of origin. Yes, modeled behavior. It’s also where were you in the family lineup where you’re the hero job, were you the scapegoat? Were you great? So that comes into play as well. What country, what culture? What societal things did you learn about how you’re supposed to be in life and in the world, and even in the US, we could look at like, how it is in the south compared to how it is in the north? Let’s say there’s major cultural differences in, I wrote about this in the book, where in the south, they’ve gotten passive aggressive communication to like a literal science, like bless your hair. So I was just gonna say when they want to say someone is a friggin hot mess or an idiot, or a jerk. They’re like, bless his heart. You’re like, you’re not blessing anyone that is code for he’s an idiot, or she’s an idiot. Yeah. 


    So the bottom line is we need to express ourselves. But before you can learn how to start establishing healthy boundaries, right, which means sharing your preferences, your limits, and your deal breakers, which are unique to you right now. My preferences are not yours, my limits are not yours. My deal breakers are not yours. But we all have a right to them. Before you can do any of that, you have to understand that you have 1,000,007 good reasons to be relating to boundaries, the way that you are right now, the difficulty that you’re having, you know, there’s like a red thread that connects us to all of the women who came before us. Think about it. 100, and something years ago, only women were property, property of their husbands.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  15:30

    Women couldn’t vote here 100 years ago, I mean, it just happened.



    Right? You’re not kidding. And then think about women of color. And it was like five times as horrible for them than it was for white women. But think about that, and how, how not long ago, that really was. So my point is not to say stay here. My point is to don’t put your highest standards of how you can figure out anything, and I know all of you can and do every single day of your life in your career. This is not one of those things. And this is when you’re learning it. It’s not something to like, plow through. It’s give yourself the gift of actually step by step. In the book, I walk you through it. It’s not a book where you can pick it up and be like, I’m gonna get inspired and go to page 150. Now, do it cool. It goes in order. Because everything you learn builds on to the next, builds up to the next because when we change in our religion, especially long term relationships, because this is where people feel a lot of pushback. Yeah. 


    And then so many times people are like, How can I establish healthy boundaries with no conflict? And like that? I do not know. I do not think that is possible. And it’s how we relate. Yeah, conflict. Why is conflict a crime? It’s not. Why is getting some pushback from someone who’s like, I can’t believe you won’t wash my clothes anymore. Whatever it is, right? I don’t know who you are now. You’re learning all these things. You’re not the person I married or you’re not the sister I know or whatever. No, because here’s the thing with over givers. We’re over functions over givers, doing way more than our share most of the time, emotional labor, forget it. No one in our sphere is doing any we’re doing it all. Yeah. And givers are going to attract takers. And if you don’t attract a taker, you could literally turn a perfectly functioning human into an under function. Because so much of the time we’re like, they’re not gonna do it fast enough. They’re not gonna do it the way I want it done.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  17:38

    I’m better at it. I’m capable. It needs to be done. Yeah,



    I was. I was talking to my mother years ago, when I was living with a boyfriend in my early 20s. And I was complaining about that he didn’t know how to vacuum and he kept burning the garlic. He didn’t add brown garlic, didn’t understand to do it on a low flame, or whatever it was. And she was like, dear, your father never touched a vacuum in his life and never cooked, not even boiled water. She’s like, you know, if you need everything done, the way you want it done, you’ll end up like me doing it all alone so it’ll be done right. But you’ll be the only one doing it. So how about be grateful that your person wants to friggin vacuum, and brown garlic and cook or whatever it is that he’s doing. But that really struck me as true. And that I didn’t want to end up doing it. It took many more years in therapy for me to stop doing it all. But yes. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  18:39

    I mean, when you’re saying that, I want to take the quiz. And I want to ask you which, you know, which one you were because as I’m thinking about myself, like, there’s your family of origin, right. You know, most people pleasers probably start as parents pleasers, but then you go on in your life, and you pick your friends, and you pick your partner, and you pick your bosses. And my husband used to tell me it didn’t matter if my boss was a man or a woman, like I had a daddy complex with every boss I ever had, I wanted that pat on the head. And the worst thing I could imagine is them being disappointed in me, which is a really weird dynamic for a value exchange of I’m doing this job for you. And you were paying me for my time and my expertise. You know, right.

    Casey McGuire Davidson 

    Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, the sobriety starter kit.


    The sobriety starter kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.

    This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course 



    But what you’re talking about is so common, it’s so common that I actually have a strategy that is super quick for people to identify. It’s called having a transference where you’re having a transference and I had a very similar experience case where I was working in an internship while I was becoming a psychotherapist, and I had this boss there and it was a drug treatment clinic and he was this kind of famous guy wrote a bunch of books about cocaine addiction, blah, blah, blah. And I would go into my therapist and be like, Oh, Dr. Washington’s a friggin jerk. I don’t like him at all. He’s so cold. He’s so judgmental. He said, withholding like all this stuff. And she’s like, dude, you’ve been there like two weeks, you really know all of those things about him. I’m describing him to her. Oh, yeah, you know, the type, tall Brooks Brothers who were in Wall Street Journal, reading, Martini drinking golf on the weekends, you know, the type that she was like, Terri, do you want to describe him again? And then think about who else that actually describes because it was really impacting my work at the clinic. Because I was so afraid of this guy although I barely interacted with him. I would like dive into the ladies room to avoid him in the hallway. If he was in a meeting, I didn’t say a word. And she was like, Dude, you got to figure this out because how was he going to see how smart you are? Yeah, if you don’t ever talk in front of him. And anyway, she helped me see that it was having a transference to my own father and kind of sharing before who was that Brooks Brothers who were you know, Madmen, Martini drinking, blah, blah, blah. And that inspired me to create this tool. 


    So if you find yourself in repeated situation, Casey, so like you shared, right that you’re always having a boss view, you’re always trying to please and feeling like, it’s so painful if you don’t get that approval. Yeah, these are the three questions and I call them the three cues for clarity. And it’s who does this person remind me of? Wherever I felt like this before? And how are, why is this behavioral dynamic? The way we’re interacting? How is that familiar to me? And if that doesn’t sort of provoke the answer, there’s 1/4, one that I tell people to use, which is to say, when I’m interacting with this person, metaphorically, who do I become, and who did they become? 


    Yeah. And if I had known to ask that question, I would have very clearly been like, oh, I become my 10 year old self, who’s terrified of my father, and my boss becomes my father. But the thing is, as you said, your boss is not your father, or your punitive or disapproving, or withholding parent or mine was very emotionally unavailable. And it is so dysfunctional, and not helpful for our careers and our self esteem and all those things. So if you just keep those questions in your back pocket, and how you can tell if you’re having this kind of a transference is that you will have an amplified response to something like it’s not your grown up self responding. It’s, it’s like bigger at my fear of this guy who I barely knew, was not commensurate to the situation or didn’t didn’t make sense. Yeah. It was an internship. And he was like, the boss there. That was it. Like, there was nothing he could really do to me. And my big response and talking about him in therapy three weeks in a row, made me go, you know, my therapist was like, This is too much feeling for someone you don’t love. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  23:05

    You know, it’s interesting after I quit drinking, and I was kind of pissed that just getting rid of the alcohol did not solve every problem in my life, right? You get rid of it. And all sudden, all these emotions come up, and you’re like, Oh, my God, my favorite coping mechanism is gone. But I had a big sort of anxiety, panic attack, and finally went to therapy for the first time where I wasn’t drinking. So you know, had that out of my system. And my therapist, same thing, she said, You are having an outsized emotional reaction to the situation and the trigger, like the trigger is x. And your emotional reaction is way up here. And we did EMDR. And it was kind of amazing for me to go back and be like, and when have you felt this before? And when have you felt this before? And somehow it goes back to like, sixth grade when I got on the wrong damn bus and ended up at the end of the line, like, something like that.



    It makes such a difference, though, because what ends up happening when we can identify where we’re having a transference and get to the root of it, this is basically an injury from an earlier time in your life, right? This is what a transference basically is, is that current time a situation currently, something about it is reminding you have a past injury that is still activated in some way. Because if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be having the transference. It’s like your body gets into high alert, fight flight, freeze fawn, because you’re like, Oh, I’ve been here before this is scary, or something bad is gonna happen or I’m gonna be in trouble. It’s like a child’s thought that you’ll have. But when we go back and tend to those injuries, write about them, journal, get into therapy, whatever it is you want to do, or I’ve walked you through it in the book, it’s no longer activated. When I took that one session in therapy when I realized that that guy wasn’t my father and what was going on, I no longer had that transference to him, I started being my normal, friendly. So to him, I ended up getting a job there after my internship was over, like, because she was saying, if you never talk in front of them, you’re not going to get a job there when you’re done. And these are real world consequences for having this disordered emotional stuff. 


    But let’s bring it to the drinking. Yeah, because there’s been so much, especially with the pandemic, I would notice with my clients, and this is another sort of strategy that I feel like anybody listening to this can use is understanding like, why am I doing what I’m doing, when it’s self sabotaging when it’s counter to what I say, I want, but there’s still a reason that we’re doing it, right. Because we are very adaptive as humans, it is doing something for us. So anyway, I had a client who was really bummed out during the pandemic in the beginning, it was gone. She was like, am I gonna tear him drinking every night. But I had a history with her, she did not have a history of addiction, a lot of people will have circumstantial addictive behaviors that don’t necessarily, are not indicative of being an alcoholic, let’s say, right? You know, you’re using it as a crutch. And she was kind of talking about it. Like she was using it as a crutch. And I was like, fine. But then she’s like, listen, I really don’t want to be drinking three big girl glasses of wine at night, can you hold me accountable? But I was like, Sure. So you know, first week, she was like, I’m not going to drink during the week, just on the weekends. I was like, okay, so she came in, and she was like, I’m such a loser. Like, I made it to Tuesday, and then I drank on Wednesday. I was like, alright, well, you’re not a loser. Let’s talk about next week, same thing. She was like, I didn’t even make it through Wednesday. She’s like, I made it one night this week. 


    And then the next week when she came in, I was like, You know what? I think we’re focusing on the wrong stuff. So let’s talk about secondary gain. Let’s talk about, I want you to answer this question. What do you get to not face, not feel or not experience by staying stuck in this behavior? So by drinking every night when you say you don’t want to, and immediately she said, I get to not face the state of my marriage. I was like, well, then we should definitely be talking about the state of your marriage, and not making you wrong, beating yourself up. It’s like this distraction. It’s almost like we’re lighting a fire over here. Because the real issue is so threatening and so scary. And we’re like, why don’t keep getting burned, or like, put down the matches. And let’s focus on what it is. 


    So those secondary game questions are, and you can use this for anything, any repeated action that you’re doing in your life, you say, like, tomorrow I’m going to work out more, but then you don’t, right? And you keep doing that to yourself, or you’re like, I’m not going to go back to this terrible relationship, but then you keep doing it. Moving into answering that question, those questions, what do I get to not face, not feel, not experience? By staying stuck here, you might be really shocked, like my client was, as to the real issue, a lot of times will just come into your mind, or we’ll write it down, right? It might even be journaling about it. And then you know where to put your energy. Like, oh, this is what I’m afraid of, or this is the conversation I don’t want to have. So now I can beat myself up. I can eat at night or do whatever the things are that you’re doing. But ultimately, you really do want to figure that out. 


    So I feel like with the drinking stuff, like you’re saying, a lot of women in your crew over function, over gave, overdue, Masters of the Universe. And then use alcohol. Yeah, to self soothe to numb I used to say when I was still drinking, it’s the only time that I can exhale. Yeah. You know, like I felt like, and it was like an instantaneous relaxation that I could never, this is long before I had a meditation practice and all these other things, of course, that support me exhaling without booze, but I didn’t know how to do it. And it was so addictive. And I was such and we came from a very addictive family. So high functioning alcoholic but it doesn’t matter because the reality is it’s still, there’s still numbing your feelings. 


    So in the book I write about a talk about shadow addictions, right? That’s what I call it, because not everyone has an addiction that’s so obvious. These are almost like socially sanctioned addictions. And because we’re so freakin high functioning, people are like these vines. Even when I stopped drinking so many people were like, You’re not an alcoholic. What are you talking about? I was like, Why the hell do you care? Of course it was all my alkie friends who really did want me to say they’re like, you’re no fun anymore. I’m like, okay, trust me. Blackout. Not fun, by the way. PS wondering what I did having to have someone else where I’d be like, I remember until we were at the diner. They’re like, Yeah, we were out for four more hours. I’m like, okay, so Can somebody fill me in? Like what happened in the, when I was in my 20s, I was trying to bile on the bathroom floor for like six hours before work. Not fun.



    You’re like, maybe it was food poisoning.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  30:26

    Not what it happens often. Exactly.



    Not food poisoning. But the shadow addictions. Again, they disproportionately impact high functioning codependent women. Because we may look easy. You know, I always say and maybe your crowd is old enough to understand this, but high functioning codependence were like, you know, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. But like Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except she did it backwards and in heels. That’s us. I love that; literally do it backwards and in heels. And yet, ultimately, obviously, for many in your community, drinking less or stopping drinking, is really what you know, is right. For you to do. And I didn’t, I mean, listen, who wants to stop? I didn’t want to. I was still, I was so young. Nobody why? No, no, we didn’t want to because we oh, it was fun. But my therapist at the time. And this is hiring a no in the late 80s. Probably. She was like, hey, what you’re describing as alcoholic behavior. And I was a senior in college at the time. And she said, um, and if you don’t seek help in a 12 step program, I’m going to stop seeing you. I was like, wait a minute, is my therapist breaking up with me? Like, are you even allowed to do that? 


    And I remember going to my first meeting in Syosset Long Island in the basement, of course of a church because that’s where it always was. And I didn’t know anything about it. I was like, Is this like a cult? Because my family were big drinkers like there was nobody was in recovery in my family, although they all should have been. And so I sat near the door being like, maybe if I need to make a run for it, like, I’ll just sit close to this door, smoking my Parliament when hundreds considerately because do you remember how everyone used to smoke back then? Oh, yeah. Yeah, of course. And this shellacked woman, because it was the 80s. And wow, I thought she was gorgeous, like, big hair and all the makeup. She came over and she was like, Oh, are you new? And I was like, oh, god, yes. Like, I don’t even know what to say. And she said, What brings you here? And I said, basically, my therapist told me if I didn’t go to at least one full step program, she broke up with me. And she was like, oh, and I didn’t know the protocol, or like, what is the thing to do? So I just said, what brings you here? And she said, I killed the six year old boy in a drunk driving accident. 


    Oh, wow. 


    I was like, Oh, my God, like, blew my mind. I don’t even know what I managed to say, something like that sucks, or I’m sorry, or I don’t know. I managed to get through the rest of that meeting. But I was so profoundly impacted by this beautiful angel, who shared this devastating experience. Because that is what convinced me to stop drinking, because it could have been me, I had driven drunk many times in the 80s. It was very popular, people, if you do not know it, like everyone did, I think at least everyone on my crew. And I just remember bawling my eyes out driving back to my campus. And just making a deal with the powers that be like, Hey, I get it. It doesn’t have to be me. It could have been me so easy. But because of this generous woman, it won’t be me. And that’s when I stopped drinking.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  33:57

    Yeah. And you said you had sort of a non traditional path of getting support in stopping drinking, because I know back then 12 step was really the only thing that people knew about and out there. And now there are a lot of other options.



    Yep. Well, that therapist was an expert in addiction. Wow. So she was someone who was really helping me throughout the way so I really didn’t do it in the rooms. And I don’t think I did it in a traditional way that other people do it. I know a lot though, because I’ve had many, many addicts and helped many people get into recovery, of course, over the many years that I have been a therapist. And a really close friend of mine is a sober coach, who has been so incredibly helpful in so many ways, but we share a lot of clients. I send people to her. She’s in recovery. Her name is Patty Powers, and she’s just wonderful. If anyone needs a zip code. She does stuff online. She does a lot of them psychoeducation for families as well. Like if you love someone who’s an addict, and you’re like, I have no idea how to support them. I know I’m enabling, but I don’t know how to stop. So having someone like that in my life on a regular basis is also very helpful. Because I have someone I can always talk to besides my own therapist. Yeah, if I’m feeling urges, or if something is shifting for me. 


    But because I stopped drinking so young, I didn’t really have an adult drinking experience. Right. I moved into New York City. But I never was a drinker in New York City. Yeah. Right. So it was kind of interesting how I just stopped so young, I found it. Once it was off the table. It wasn’t that hard. But then of course, there’s the transfer of addiction to food and sweets and exercise. And I mean, please, it continues today. We’re like, I don’t know if some people think of addiction as an illicit, if you know anything about it, you know that this is an ongoing situation, to be managed. And that I’m always aware, oh, my god, I’m so grateful that opioids and all of that stuff was not readily popular when I was still drinking and doing drugs. Like, I think I’d be dead. I’m not getting, like when I think about that, like, that would definitely be what I would be addicted to. And it happens to people so quickly, and it’s so devastating, that it’s something that I really am very aware of, in my life and value. My sobriety? Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  36:40

    Well, you know, it’s interesting that and I, you described it in a slightly different way that I’ve heard it, but sort of similar in terms of figuring out what you’re trying to avoid. So I always think about it is, you know, when you’re drinking, you have two types of problems, you have the aftermath problems, which are the hangovers the headaches, the not remembering the blackouts that, you know, talking crap to yourself all that stuff, or drunk, dialing your boss exactly, like leaving your phone in your boss’s car, because she had to drive you home from a Christmas party like, but those go away pretty quickly when you stop drinking. But then there are the underlying problems that you actually have to deal with once you stop your self sabotaging behavior. And that’s what I think of when you said, your client was like, I don’t have to deal with the state of my marriage, like that’s the underlying problem that alcohol was helping you avoid? And is that what you’re talking about when you say the shadow? Or is it something else?



    Well, when I talk about shadow addictions, I’m really just describing their shadow addictions, because you’re probably not getting a DUI people, they’re in the shadows, because others don’t see them. But they’re still running your life. Yes, they’re still running your life. So what you’re talking about is the original injuries is what I would describe it in a psychological way, where we are trying to avoid dealing with or we’re trying to soothe the upset from these original injuries. And yet, if we never go back to deal with them, if we never, they will come find us. Right, what I’ve seen many, many times is women in particular are in their 50s, or 60s, coming into therapy, and I call it the chickens coming home to roost. Because there’s, like, only so long that we can outrun it. And we’re good, we’re good. We’re very busy. And that helps you out run it right. It’s sort of like drinking when you’re busy, busy, busy. And then you come home and drink. And then you’re mad at yourself and you’re just trying to get through the day. There is no time or mental energy or capacity to deal with all the shit underneath. You’re just dealing with this, like the burning fire of that day. Yeah, and here’s the thing, you’re also the Pyro, who’s lighting those fires. 


    Casey McGuire Davidson  39:13

    That is true. That is very, very true.



    Like, why will keep getting burned or like, put down the matches, like, we’re sort of doing that by not dealing. And yet, it’s one thing at a time, like you can handle this, like you’re gonna be shocked the same way that you can run a business, run a family, run, be a CFO, whatever the thing is that people are doing, run an agency. You can, though that skill set can, literally be applied once my people who get into my sort of crew and my world. Get committed to like, I’m going to deal with this stuff. Listen, it’s helpful to do it in group, it’s helpful to not be alone. Yeah, in the process to not feel ashamed. And I think that bringing it out into the light is so incredibly important, because we have nothing to be ashamed about, but you’ll never be your fullest expression of yourself. Because you know, Casey and I know that addicts have secrets. There’s a secret room in your brain. If you have an addict mind, there are so many things in there. I would never tell anyone I did not even not even 25 years, 30 years after the fact. Yeah, we’re because we do things we’re not proud of, when we’re not in our right state of mind. And when people say, oh, you know, you tell the truth, and you’re drunk and all that. I’m like, stop. That is not true at all. 


    Casey McGuire Davidson  40:50

    Yeah. Like, you could do your emotions all over the place. It exacerbates everything. vulnerability, sadness, victim mindset, displacing so much aggression. Yes, right, ending up in a brawl with your partner about something that Oh, God has nothing to do with them.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  41:10

    I used to get in fights and not remember what they were about the next morning. And also, like, be angry about something and like, lose my train of thought. So I couldn’t like justify the emotion I was feeling. 


    I feel you. Well. So how did your boundaries function in helping you deal with this right? The underlying problems, the things you’re afraid of?



    Well, we start with internal boundaries. Because that’s the way that you relate to yourself. So before you go into, you know, before you actually try to go into like, Oh, I’m going to have this conversation with someone else, this boundary conversation can’t wait. You need to go in, we need to look at internal boundaries and how you show up for yourself. Do you keep your word to yourself? Do you treat yourself with the same? Like? Do you hold yourself in high regard? In the same way you do others? Or do you work yourself to death? Do you not rest? When you’re tired? Do you say yes, when you really should say no to something because you don’t want to let others down. But you’re burnt out, and you’re not taking care of yourself? All of those things are an indication of disordered internal boundaries. 


    So that’s always where we start is more deeply understanding, Why am I so self abandoning? Why is it so much easier to just be like, it’s fine, it’s not a big deal, I’ll do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it. Because here’s, here’s the real major issues, besides the fact that you’ll never be fully empowered, or fully self expressed in your life, if you don’t figure out the boundary thing, because that’s really what that’s about. But you’re also not known in your life. Because we hold on to all this resentment, instead of saying the thing to the person, we just put it in that massive file cabinet of new reason number 7005 why Bob’s an a-hole rather than having the conversation or which is do the thing Bob wants us to do. So he shuts up, or even if we can shut it down at work, because what I find with a lot of my therapy clients is that they either they’re over functioning at work, but they have better boundaries at work, a lot of them seem to be more of a boundary disaster in their personal life, especially romantic relationships. Because that seems to be the place where we act out our dysfunction. From family stuff, most readily. 


    I was like the opposite. My husband’s like, I’m the only person who you can have boundaries with and tell me no, and at work, you are like a golden retriever killing yourself to get a pat on the head, you know, right?



    That’s common too. Right? It’s sort of like so you know how in yoga, they love to say the way you do anything, the way you do everything? No, that is not always accurate. Especially in respect to mental wellness. And understanding ourselves. You know, I built all of my work on these five pillars of transformation or self mastering. So we start with self awareness. Like what is not working in the beginning of the book I have you do a massive list, an OK list and a not okay list. Like what? Where are you just overriding your, even your preferences. I’m not even only talking about deal breakers, right? Because if you think about your boundaries, preferences, limits, deal breakers, but most of us don’t even think about it. So I have you do an extensive list. That is raising self awareness of like, okay, what isn’t working for me? What relationships are causing resentment, right, I have you do a resentment inventory. Immediately that will tell you where the biggest either are the biggest boundary bullies? Or the people who you have not actually set boundaries with. And we can’t really say they’re a boundary bully, if you thought it, but didn’t say it, right, because nobody can read your mind. 


    So first pillar of self awareness: move into self knowledge, which is when we’re sort of going into the basement I call it, right, your unconscious mind. And we’re like, I’m asking you all these questions. So you can open up these boxes you haven’t looked in for a long time. Understanding self knowledge, like what happened in your life. So many of my high functioning women are like, I don’t want to blame my parents, that happened 30 years ago, why the hell am I not over? And I’m like, listen, it’s not about blaming your parents, we can blame them, we cannot blame him, who cares? It’s about if we don’t honor your experiences, you’re going to be stuck. And you’re going to be repeating these patterns. So self knowledge is two, three is self acceptance, where a lot of us have just created stories about our childhoods, where we’re like, you know, it wasn’t that bad. And I know, my mother had a terrible thing. I mean, she did way better than her parents did. You know, we make excuses. I call that the lies we tell ourselves. Because even if those things are true, it does not change that the child within you needs to be acknowledged, like wow, if especially if you were present, you know, parental as a kid, if you were doing adult things, if you were taking care of younger children, whatever you that kid in, you need someone to be like, that must have been hard. You did an amazing job. 


    Casey McGuire Davidson  46:38

    That’s one of the first things that my therapist said to me, because I was like, I don’t know why I can’t cope. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, everyone else can. And there’s no reason, you know, like, I didn’t have any sexual trauma. I didn’t have any physical or, you know, emotional abuse, trauma. But, you know, we moved to Africa, when I was three, and South America when I was five, and my parents weren’t around and I was raised by housekeepers, or whatever it is, she was like, you didn’t get what you needed emotionally. Regardless, if your parents were kind in loving when they were around, or whatever it is, you know, there’s still neglect there, right? There’s still a sense of not being important. If you’re being raised by except when they’re there. 


    Right, then you feel important, but your therapist is right, because we always look at it like if there’s not overt abuse, we’re like, what am I complaining about? I had a roof over my head. That’s not what we’re talking about. We, most of us have roofs over our heads. But if you really want to understand why you are the way you are, you have to be in that third pillar, which is self acceptance of like, Hey, if you’re a parent, you’ve already failed your kids, you’re gonna fail them more. If you had parents, they failed you. That’s it. We’re just human beings doing the best that we can, if you’re a parent, get ready to apologize for all the ways that you failed your kids. Don’t give them any reasons why, don’t explain anything, just say, Hey, I’m sorry for the ways that I failed you. I love you. I hope you do better, I mean, like, yeah, we’re human beings always like no matter what you do, your kid’s gonna be a therapy of blame. They’re rather correct. Just expected, it’s fine. 


    The fourth pillar is self compassion. And that’s exactly, Casey, where you were just talking about lack of self compassion in the, what is wrong with me? Like, why can everyone else get the memo, I like missed the memo of like functioning in life. And your therapist is like, No, you didn’t have some compassion about what you experienced. And valuing those experiences and just having the same compassion for our young selves and ourselves now, as we do for those that we love. Yeah, we’ve got compassion overload. For the rest of the friggin world. We need to turn that around, and have that be ourselves and be kind. Forget that inner mean committee, shut them down. Talk to yourself in the same loving way. You would talk to a kid that you adored, stop beating yourself up, stop saying mean things to yourself. It is so counterproductive. So that’s the fourth one and that is the one that I think that people struggle with women in particular the most. And then the fifth one is really self love. Self celebration, which is self mastery.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  49:27

    Yeah, I mean, that’s what I mean. I have so much respect for therapists, I think everyone should be in therapy. But she said to me, she, I had a, you know, young daughter, she looks just like me as a kid. And she was like, what if your daughter was having this crushing anxiety or this happening or like I just need to stay at work despite XYZ what would you say to her? And I was like, I would, you know, tell her all these things and take care of her and do all these things. Same thing like, that self compassion. But what if you feel like it’s selfish to so many women. I talked to her like, well, I can’t do X or do Y or take time for myself, you know, and highlighting the company needs X, my kids need y, I have a mortgage, my husband travels, you know what I mean?



    Yeah, I do. But the thing is, if we really look at that from what is the cost, the fear is I’m being selfish about taking care of myself. The truth is, when you let yourself get burnt down in abogado, immune disorders, you end up bitter, you end up an alcoholic, you end up not at all, bringing your best self, to all of these people that you claim to be so committed to. It’s the worst kept secret, by the way, those of you who are still drinking massively, even though you’re very crafty, the close people in your life know what’s going on. And you’re not, you can’t give from an empty bucket. You simply cannot. And then if you are over giving, what is that it’s a one way ticket to bitter land, because that’s the only step on that train. Because even if people are grateful, because we’re giving from a disordered place, they’re not grateful enough. Yeah, we’re sacrificing our lives. And even if they’re like, Thanks, you’re like, Yeah, I don’t know, they didn’t really mean it. They didn’t realize how hard that was, after you’re doing something that nobody asked you to do.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  51:25

    I see that. And then I also see people giving, giving, and hoping that if they give enough, the other people will meet their needs, or take care of them. Or, you know, someone said it to me like, you want someone else to set the boundary for you. If you just tell them you’re about to break, or if you are so giving you’re like bending over backwards, then maybe they’ll take care of you.



    But you know, when they’ll take care of you so much quicker. If you just tell them what you correct? Yeah, I’d like to make a simple request, that on Saturday mornings, you take the kids so I can go to yoga. Yeah, I haven’t been taking care of myself, it is really negatively impacting me, and I would love it if you would take that on fully. Saturday morning, from eight to noon is you and the kids. And I’m going to yoga and breakfast with my friends.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  52:19

    I love that you said that’s, you know, take that on fully. Because otherwise, you’re almost asking permission each time for like a favor. No, man, as opposed to here’s what I need. Yeah.



    Yeah, it’s not and it’s also the take on fully has a lot to do with emotional labor. Because we’re such high functioning codependents and over functions, that will give someone something to do, but it’s still on our list. Because we’re checking, we’re seeing if they did it, they’re not doing it in the timeframe we want. They’re not doing the timeframe, they said they would or they’re not doing a good job. And a lot of times this is like, you know, it’s either learned helplessness, or feigned helplessness, where they’re like that you do it so much better. Because they want all of that emotional labor to be on you. So I’m super clear with people on my team who work for me, my husband, whoever, my assistant. I’m like, listen, just happened today. She was like, Well, why don’t you ask her as if whatever, it’s like, no, why don’t you because it’s your job? And you asking me to ask her anything. Now that is banned. I’m paying you to use your bandwidth for that. And I said it nicely. I literally just said, Please, you do it. Right. Why are you even asking me to do it? 


    But this is very common. When you’re a person who for a long time has been saying I got it. I got it from me not letting the cab driver lift my huge bag into the back when I’m going to Europe like why? Why am I not letting the guy get on like I got to know about not letting someone back my groceries, just not even letting the people do their jobs. Accepting asking for help is one of the hardest things when you’re a high functioning codependent. Because here’s the thing with codependency though, the last thing I want to say about this, which is very important. This is an overt or covert bid for control of other people’s outcomes. We’re trying to be so helpful to our friend in crisis because her being in crisis is creating chaos inside of us, making us so uncomfortable and so constricted. And we want her to be okay. Rather than having faith, like I love my friend, but it’s her situation. So most people don’t think of codependency as an attempt at control. Yeah. But it actually is if I do it, then there’s not going to be a problem. If I get the kids out of here and get them to be quiet then my partner is not going to explode because they’re being too noisy. If I take them in the car and take them for ice cream, so then I don’t do all of this over-functioning and not letting the chips fall where they may in life, it negatively impacts other people’s ability to have relationships too, though, right? Because we’re always inserting ourselves into the middle of other people’s situations. Yeah, even if we’re doing it. You know, listen, we’re lovers. I’m not saying there’s, we have a negative intention for doing it. But there definitely is a negative impact for doing it.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  55:25

    Well, I have a question, what if you’re scared of what the chips will look like, if they fall where they may? You know what I mean?



    Of course, but here’s the thing. You don’t have that fragile baby. Like, you can be scared, and do it anyway. You can be scared and step out. You can be scared and excuse yourself. I’m not saying if you have a partner who’s abusive, leave the kid like, obviously, I’m not talking about anything that would impact anyone’s safety in that way. But the fear that we have when we’re high functioning codependents, we’re doing all the things because we’re afraid to let the chips fall where they may, is a child’s fear. It’s not the grown up us who are running empires. I’m not afraid of anything. But I get into a situation where there’s conflict. And I immediately want to be like, Okay, how can I defuse this, I don’t anymore. Because it’s not my situation, I visualized myself, literally, I see myself wanting to grab for it, I just put it in my hand, and I put it down on the ground in my mind. And I go, or I put it in a box, I’m going to put it up in the top of a closet where I’m like, That is not my side of the street, I have enough to clean up on my own side of the street. What happens between those two people, they’ll have to figure out I’ve recently had this with one of my grown sons separating from his wife, there were different things happening. And he was like, basically wanted me to tell my husband, and I was like, No man, like, you need to tell your brothers, you need so that, like, I love you, I’m here for you. But it’s your story to tell. Because it’s so easy to be, especially when you’re the mom, the producer of life, of all the things right. But that’s something that’s important then that is between them, and I want them to have that relationship. I’m like, Are you checking up on him? You guys? Are you talking to him? Can’t just be me. You know? 


    Casey McGuire Davidson  57:21

    Yeah, I, as you’re saying that I was gonna have a lot of work to do in this area around someone very, very close to me being very unhappy in their job. And I want to find them a new job or get them on Prozac or talk to their boss like, I’m like, he’d stop, but I just want them not to be unhappy.



    I know. But here’s the thing, when you get that their unhappiness is making you uncomfortable. It’s messing with the peace, the inner peace, yeah, that you’ve worked really hard in your life to create by getting sober and therapy and all the things that what really makes sense to do is to step back is to say to them, what do you think you should do? Don’t be the receptacle of this toxic complaining about maybe I don’t know your situation. But I’m saying in general, people who come to us and talk about the same thing. And we have all these great ideas, and we have all these resources, we have all these things and sending the YouTube links and the things and the bottom line is, when I really started getting healthy, I learned to say, Hey, I’m really sorry, that sounds hard but I have no doubt you’ll figure it out. Because you’re the only one who can and just leaving it, that is letting the chips fall where they may because here’s the thing. I couldn’t believe it when my therapist helped me figure this out in my 20s. But I actually didn’t know what they should do. Even though I really thought I did. 


    My therapist, to my face, said, let me ask you something. Why do you think you know what lessons your sister needs to learn in this lifetime? As like, well, she doesn’t need to learn it in an abusive relationship. She’s like, how do you know that? How do you know Terri? She’s like, Yo, why you’re so uncomfortable. I was like, because she’s in an abusive relationship. She’s like, Yes. And you’ve spent 20 years curating internal peace, that her dumpster fire of a life is really messing with and you want it to stop. So you want, you want it to be neatly sewn up in a bow. But that’s not your job. I was like, Well, I can’t listen to this. She’s like, then step back, draw a boundary, have a conversation, which I did do. And then nine months later, my sister left that relationship and I helped her get out and all those things, but then I’m not the hero of my sister’s story. She got to be the hero of her story. She wasn’t ready to leave when I wanted her to leave. She would have gone back three more times. Yeah. It was neat when I really got that. I was like, Oh, it’s my intern. Oh, suffering that that is creating, and that I want to stop, then I could step back even though I felt guilty. She’s like, but it’s okay. You can’t fix her life, only she can. And it’s just your judgment of her, like, keep your eyes on her own paper right now. And I did. And that’s hard to do. 


    But when you do even just changing the dialogue, even just simply saying, What do you think you should do? What is your gut instinct, say? And if the person’s like, I don’t know what’s hopeless, and you can say, well, you know, I actually have faith that you’re gonna figure it out, I really do, I believe in you. And then just shut up. Because the bottom line is all the suggestions in the world that you’re going to make. They’re not going to take it and if they do, and it doesn’t work out, they’re going to blame you. It’s just not our place. It’s so it’s us inserting ourselves into the middle of someone else’s situation. And I was a master at it, Casey, you know, I’m not judging, because if you know, I’m getting free therapy. I’m like, Okay. I love it. Love it. Anytime? 


    Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, I could talk to you all day. And I think everyone should read your book Boundary Boss and take the quiz on your site. I don’t know a single woman, and I’m sure all the men, but a single woman who doesn’t need to do this work in some area of their life, especially if you’re high achieving. I mean, it’s just masked, it’s just hidden. So how can people find you, follow up? Follow up?



    Sure. First, I want to tell you about something really exciting that I’m doing that I’ve never done before, that people have asked me to do for many, many years, is I’m doing a very small mastermind starting in January. So 12 women. So anyway, that’s something I look forward to taking applications, probably end of October, beginning of November, and then I’ll be taking meetings with people. But if that’s something that’s interesting, it’s really for high achieving women who either want it to be easier, who are switching careers, who really want the support of other really smart, non judgmental women who want to do something for themselves. It’s only for women. But I’m really, really pumped, because I’m such a group girl, like I just cannot wait to do it. It’s going to be for six months. So it starts in January, and then it goes for six months. You can find me on Instagram @TerriCole. I have a podcast myself for the past seven years called the Terri Cole Show. I have a group, women only, on Facebook called Real Love Revolution with Terri Cole. You can see me in all the places. I have a YouTube channel with 400 free videos about everything in the world you could possibly want to know about. So I put out a ton of content weekly. Yeah, for people because really, my mission is to help as many people as possible while I’m alive on planet Earth. So that’s my commitment, that the free stuff I put out is really my commitment so that anyone can transform what’s not working in their lives.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:04

    Yeah. And just if someone’s listening, I’ll put this on the show notes. But Terri’s name is T E R R I. Last Name, C O L E. So I want to make sure folks can find you.



    Go take the boundary quiz people. Yeah, taking it at boundaryquiz.com. Super easy.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:25

    All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thanks for having me, guys. 


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:14


    Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 


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