By Chris Seiter

Published on September 11th, 2023

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Kristina, a registered clinical counselor based out of Vancouver.

We talked about all kinds of interesting things related to breakups and codependency.

  • What is codependency? 0:03
  • Avoidant vs. codependent attachment styles. 5:43
  • The yearning for connection and codependent relationships. 11:10
  • Setting boundaries in a codependent relationship. 16:25
  • How long does it take your brain to reset? 23:43
  • Setting clear boundaries about not contacting your ex. 28:19
  • How to set boundaries. 33:34
  • Setting clear boundaries. 38:33
  • Codependency and codependency in relationships. 41:45
  • Masterclasses and resources. 47:10

Important Links Mentioned In The Episode

Interview Transcript

Chris Seiter 00:03
All right, today we’re gonna be talking to Julia Kristina who holds a master’s degree in counseling in psychology. She’s also helped hundreds of men and women break through their biggest struggles with anxiety, worry, low self esteem, self doubt, I got this, this list just keeps going on through. But today, we’re gonna basically be talking to her about codependency how to improve your communication skills, or basically the boundary setting abilities that maybe you feel like you’re lacking in relationships, but I just wanted to say, thank you so much for coming on and doing this. It’s such a pleasure.

Julia 00:35
It is my pleasure, Chris to be here and having this conversation. Thanks for having me.

Chris Seiter 00:41
Okay, so the first thing I typically do when I have interview kind of coming up, I always like to do a little bit of homework, you know, a couple of hours before I come on, so I’m going through your YouTube channel and you have like 300,000 subscribers so it’s, it’s not like one of those small YouTube channels, you’ve got a pretty large audience, but the one video that stuck out to me was basically your so like, Do you ever do that thing on YouTube where you go to someone’s YouTube channel and you always just like, sort it by the most popular videos. Were totally sponsored other videos is about codependency and I immediately clicked with this one because I think it’s a perfect topic to talk about. So why don’t we talk a little bit about how to identify if you are in a or if you are basically in a codependent relationship or you are codependent yourself?

Julia 01:32
Oh, gosh, I mean, it can look a lot of different ways. So to talk about what codependency is, I think first we need to talk about that more what codependency isn’t and what it looks like to not be in a codependent relationship. So the opposite of codependence isn’t independence. The opposite of codependence is interdependence. So when we are in an interdependent relationship, it means that both people are there for each other. And both people have a secure sense of self within the relationship. So both people do need each other has to be a certain element of needing the person in your life or else what’s the point? You’re just living parallel lives, as opposed to interdependent lives? And so yeah, just really think about that. What does it mean to be interdependent? It means that I need this person in certain aspects. So I just got to throw a frog in my throat.

Chris Seiter 02:37
You know, it’s a good, it’s a good, it’s alive, we are alive.

Julia 02:42
We are not we are not this is not AI.

Chris Seiter 02:45
Unfortunately, or fortunately, rather, it’s not it’s not AI. Yeah.

Julia 02:52
And so really just looking at how do I be dependent on this person, but also be dependent on myself kind of in that same mix. And so what codependence is, is it’s really becoming overly dependent on someone else, for our sense of self. For our identity, we think that somebody else is going to sorry, Jerry Maguire, but you were wrong, complete us. And so we go, and someone’s gonna solve the right thing, right, and we think someone’s going to someone is going to solve our problems and make everything better. Interestingly enough, research shows that people who are in a relationship are only Contrary to popular belief, slightly happier, overall, in general, than people who are single. So that’s just a stat which basically tells us that just sort of, in general, people who are in relationships in like a committed relationship are, in general, are happier, but not as much happier as we thought because no matter where we go, that’s where we are. We bring ourselves into any circumstance or situation. And so you’re gonna bring yourself into a relationship, there’s certain things about being in a relationship, they’re going to make your life better, you’ve got a built in friend to do things where if you’ve got someone to plan with, you’ve got someone to, you know, go through life with the person to talk about the mundane mundane things about your everyday life with. But then you also have someone to navigate and negotiate and problem solving someone else’s schedule and someone else’s preferences and someone else’s ways of doing things and like all of the other stuff that comes with it. So you kind of get you know, you get the pros and the cons. Same with being single, you get the pros and the cons. So they can really just look at that. When people think about being codependent. They’re convinced that they need this person in their life in order to be okay. And that’s just not true. And I think

Chris Seiter 04:59
That is where most of our audience is, you know, I I like to run polls with the audience. So one of the big things that we’re we look at is the attachment styles of individuals. So we asked our audiences like, hey, what what is your attachment style and overwhelmingly the attachment style they had was anxious, preoccupied, but I also asked them hey, what do you think your exes attachment style is? Because most of the people here are going through breakups. And they said overwhelmingly, like 70% said, their ex is a dismissive avoidant. So you have that anxious pairing and that dismissive, avoidant pairing, which I would assume is kind of a breeding ground for these type of codependent relationships. Do you think you could talk a little bit about that?

Julia 05:43
Yeah, so it’s like it’s almost like this thrill of the chase, the more unavailable something is, the more you want it, and the other side of codependent so there’s a one side of codependence where you kind of rely on someone in need them. But then the other side of the codependence is if you’re someone who needs to be needed. Right. So So one person is the needy one, right. So that would be the anxious and then one person is the needs to be needed, which would tend to more be the avoidant where they want to be needed, but then end up feeling suffocated and then push that person away, which causes them to feel rejected, which cause brings out more neediness. And so the dance kind of goes on where there’s a lot of push pull, where you might want to be you know, you need to be needed, you need to feel important, you need to feel essential in someone’s life, like you are the strings that are holding that person together. But as soon as it gets to be too much, you push them away, and the more you push them away, the more their neediness flares up, and it becomes this sort of this sort of dance of a push and pull. And so that’s that’s often how that can show up with anxious and avoidant attachment styles. And also understanding that avoidant attachment is also an anxious attachment. Right? It’s a different iteration of anxious attachment attachment. It’s more the anxiety of letting someone get too close. Because, you know, there’s a whole bunch of experiences and ideas and stories about what that means if we let someone get too close to us. So all of us desire closeness, but then there can be fear that shows up and prevents that from happening in a healthy way.

Chris Seiter 07:23
Well, you know, what’s really interesting about that is your like the third psychologist that I have a I have interviewed that has said that the avoidant sort of attachment style stems from anxiety, and it doesn’t make so much sense because you know, that whatever avoidant mechanism that comes into play usually is coming during some sort of trigger point where their independence is feeling threatened and they grow anxious, and their avoidance is just basically a symptom of that anxiousness.

Julia 07:54
Right. It sounds good.

Chris Seiter 07:55
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, what I find so interesting about it is to me, so I’ve interviewed a lot of people. And that’s like a common theme that keeps popping up. But it seems like the literature that is online when you read like a Psychology Today article never really mentions the fact that there’s this really intricate connection between dismissive avoidance and the anxiety. They just talk about dismissive avoidance and black and white terms.

Julia 08:27
Yeah, I mean, dismissive, avoidant, all just really understanding that when it comes to human behavior, all of it is purposeful. Right? All behavior is purposeful, there’s always a reason why someone is doing, what they’re doing acting, how they’re acting, interacting, how they’re interacting. And so what the research shows that people who have more the avoidant personality or sorry, avoidant attachment style, is that they were, there was a lot of emotional neglect, or even physical neglect as a child. And so as children we are, we need attachment, like we need to attach to our attachment figures. That’s why they’re called attachment figures. And this is where so much of this stems from, we need that secure attachment. But in the absence of that secure attachment, little brains are so incredible, the way that they will adapt, the human brain is built for survival. And so if you are not able to depend on someone, if someone is not there for you, when you need them, if they are not able to meet your emotional needs, then that part of your brain will kind of like shut off and get pushed aside. Because it would be it would it wouldn’t make sense to keep clamoring for something that isn’t available. And it requires too much energy to keep clamoring for something that doesn’t available. So that adaptive these incredible little brains of these little beings of children will just kind of stop seeking that and it will kind of shut down and they will learn to kind of keep themselves held back because it’s not safe to to attach it’s there’s nothing there to attach to. It’s not safe to tell Ain’t no there’s nothing to lean into. So they will become more sort of independent within themselves, more kind of self sustaining within themselves. Although the craving for love and connection never goes away, it just doesn’t ever really feel safe to get close. Now the mistake a lot of people make, they’re like, oh, there’s this guy, I know, we had this, you know, traumatic childhood, and I can see that he really just wants love. So I’m going to be one, the one that brings it out to him, I’m going to be the one that changes him, I’m going to be the one that like he finally the bad boy, or the, you know, the kind of fix, right, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna be the one that makes him because there’s just he’s got so much potential, right? We’ve heard that so many times, I’m going to be the one that he finally gets to live out his full potentials and feel safe and be this, you know, wonderful, attentive, present consistent partner that I know he can be. And so that is the codependent thing to is just been like, I’m going to be the one that fixes this, because I see it in there. And it’s not they’re not wrong, it is in there. But you know, the mistake we made is like, you didn’t cause it. You can’t fix it. Yeah,

Chris Seiter 11:10
I mean, so what’s really fascinating about about what you said, just going back, actually, to the yearning for connection and how adaptable young brains are, I mean, you even see that I think in like Russian orphanages, or Ukrainian orphanages, like you’ll go in, and the babies are just quiet, you know, because they know, no one’s going to come get them. So the brain sort of is adapted. So if you, if anyone’s sort of skeptical about the attachment aspect from childhood, I mean, there’s a prime example or an extreme unfortunate, unfortunately, extreme level. But most of the people listening to this, I feel like will push back on believing they are in a co dependent relationship, even when a lot of the signs are there. So what do you say to people who kind of, I think in their heart understand or maybe logically understands, like, Okay, I have a lot of these signs of being sort of codependent. You know, like, the, basically the, the connection you just described, if like, I’m gonna be the one to fix them, you know, I’ll be the one to get them to turn the corner. And then, but in their heart, they just won’t accept it. How do you get people to have this paradigm shift to where they’re like, Okay, I need to work on recovering from this.

Julia 12:26
Yep. So if your partner not responding to calls or responding to texts, you know, you don’t know where they are all the time. But they’ve never given you any reason to mistrust them, but not kind of being able to have a handle on where they are, what’s going on and whether or not respond to you. And you immediately go into anxiety, or fear or panic, or desperation. That’s a sign of codependence or an anxious attachment style. Your listeners, right, unless they’ve given you reason to mistrust them, right. Or they’ve shown themselves to be

Chris Seiter 13:10
people here that have not, I’m just letting you know. Yeah, that’s unfortunate. But yeah, yeah, yeah, I love.

Julia 13:17
Yeah, really clear sign. Another really clear sign is if your partner is just like needing some quiet time, they’re not being rude to you, but they’re kind of quiet, or they’re just like, after a long day, they just need kind of time to like, tune out or shut off, and you take it personally, and you’re automatically oh my gosh, what did I do? Why are they mad at me? Or why are they punishing me? Why are they doing this like this, like, they can’t do this, this is so bad, this is so selfish of them, right? It automatically goes into like you taking it personally and and either thinking you’ve done something wrong or thinking that they are being wrong or unfair for needing to just have some quiet time to just need to like unwind and not have a big you know, debrief immediately at the end of the day. If your partner you know likes to have friends or hobbies that are outside of the relationship now, not to say that they’re you know, if you’re in like a long term committed relationship, they’re going out like five or six, six night nights a week and never actually like investing in the relationship doesn’t ever want to seem to be around or never really planning things for you to do not that but if your partner’s like maybe some like sometimes I want to go out with the guys or the girl is sometimes she’s like I want to go out with the girls or wants to like have a hobby that separate from you. This is this other part of interdependence. I’ll speak on that a little bit more after I finish this. This part is if you start to be like oh well why did they want to do things without me must mean that they don’t really love me. They don’t really care about me like we have to do everything together or else that means that you know, they don’t they’re abandoning me or they don’t really care about me if that’s happening. If you Find that them having other friends, just friends completely platonic friends of the same gender, if you’re in a heterosexual relationship of the other gender, if you are in a, in a homosexual relationship, like whatever that is, and you start to feel very threatened by that, right, my partner has other people that they want to spend time with, even if it’s, you know, completely platonic, you start to feel threatened by that start to feel insecure around that. And that is a really clear sign of some codependence, and some anxious attachment. Now, what I was gonna say as well, sort of, I touched on it, but go back to this whole aspect of being interdependent in the relationship and understanding that a relationship is not two partial people coming in to make a whole, it is two whole people coming in to navigate and negotiate and work through a life alongside each other. And so as soon as you start to think that somebody else has to complete me, then you become completely dependent on their choices on their actions on who they are on their mood. If you notice that if your partner’s ever gets in a bad mood that you kind of take that on and start to feel really anxious, right, you kind of carry the weight of their emotions is another really clear sign. So we want to be looking for to complete people coming into a relationship to navigate and negotiate equally and together.

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Chris Seiter 16:25
I love that. I love that so much. Because I think a lot of people who have these codependent tendencies don’t actually view it with that paradigm. They view it as I’ll get into this relationship, and this person will complete me that’s the missing part of me. And what you’re basically saying is no, you should already come into the relationship being a complete person, and this other person. This is maybe the poor analogy, but I, when I was when I write articles, sometimes I’m talking about codependency, I always try to describe codependency as people who are in codependent relationships, you are just simply revolving around your exes or your partner’s Son, your like a solar system revolving around their sun. And what you need to try to do is kind of break away out of that solar system and create your own, and then you can kind of like totally in tandem. It’s a ridiculous analogy, but I do think it I do think it works. But I actually want to switch gears here, because this is the thing that I think is much more valuable. And that’s setting boundaries. Okay, so let me just set the stage here to give you like, because setting boundaries, I think in a relationship is going to be different, potentially than setting boundaries during a breakup. Most of the people here are going through a breakup. Most of them want to get their ex back. And my job when they enter into my orbit is to teach them, the best way that you can make that happen is to outgrow your ex try to get over them. This creates the environment that makes them more attractive to you. And I think it kind of harkens back to that point you just made with codependency it’s about understanding, you need to become your own person before you re enter into relationship with them. The problem is, people will say they buy into this concept, but they don’t have the boundary setting skills that are necessary. So what are some tips you can give to someone in this environment to make that happen?

Julia 18:27
Yeah, I think often we want to get back together with someone, because the transition into something different is very overwhelming for our brains. So I’m gonna just let me speak on this a little bit. For those of you who are like no, I actually really love the person I want to be with them. So if you have been in a long term relationship with someone your brain is used to that, it you know, you know, that person is there you have you talk to them regularly, you see them regularly, you shared a life with them, you’ve considered them in your plans, like your brain is just very used to this person being in your life, and all of a sudden, usually breakups are fairly, fairly momentarily. It’s like one minute together, we’re together. The next one, we have a conversation and we end everything is cut off. And that cutting off in such a dramatic extreme way is very jarring for our human brains. Our human brains do not like change, we are one of the most adaptable creatures or species on the on the on the planet. But we also hate change because it’s it’s we don’t really know how to start that we don’t know how to exist in the newness. We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know how to be and those neural pathways in our brains have to recalibrate and that takes time. It doesn’t happen immediately. Once the act is done once the severing of the relationship is started. You don’t all of a sudden have all the new kind of ways of being in your brain just as far as just not even the person aside the actual emotional attachment. It’s just the habitual attachment. It’s it’s the expectations. Right that are that We’re no longer being met, we don’t know what to expect, we don’t know what to do. And so a lot of the times, we can think we want to get back together with the person simply because it’s so uncomfortable being in this brand new reality that we haven’t adapted to yet. And sometimes, yeah, we can think we’re still in love with the person where we’re really just in love with the predictability and the routine and the idea of just having someone there. So usually, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. But what tends to be a way to override this and really figure out if you want to be with together with the person is to give a few months of no contact, you just complete no contact.

Chris Seiter 20:46
I mean, that’s literally like, Paramount. And I always tell people, like, the point of no contact isn’t to make your ex miss you. And I’ve even ran polls and showed people, it will not make your ex make you more. So like there’s this sorry, I’m nerding out over here.

Julia 21:03
I a lot more nerding out about it, Chris. Yeah.

Chris Seiter 21:08
So a lot of people who buy into the No Contact Rule will actually sit there and claim Well, this is actually a lot more likely to make your ex reach out to you. And they’ll like, talk about the psychological reactance of everything. But when I actually ran internal polls from people, my audience who have actually done the No Contact Rule 70% of exes did not reach out to them. And I mean, I always talk about okay, well, maybe that is because they have dismissive, avoidant tendencies, and you’re giving them exactly what they want, you know, but the point of no contact isn’t supposed to be about making your ex miss you. It’s supposed to be about finding yourself by outgrowing her. Okay, so, yeah, well,

Julia 21:44
and even just at a more nerdy level, it’s just about giving your brain an opportunity to create comfort in a reality without that person, just daily routine, giving your brain a chance to establish you to establish yourself as a human being without that person for your brain to just kind of get used to not having that person. So if you’re calling if you’re seeing each other, if you’re continuing, your brain doesn’t have a chance to adapt to the new reality. So after you have spent that time to really just establish yourself and and giving yourself the the experience, right, giving yourself the experience of not having this person in your life, and letting your brain get used to that, then you can think with a more clearer mind and decide, is this a relationship that I would like to re entertain? Right? Is it actually the person that I want Was there enough there in the relationship that I really do truly believe that we could work through that would be worth fighting for outside of that emotional, or that initial emotional reaction, or you know, that severing of the attachment in the moment, and then your brain kind of freaking out because that attachment has been removed within a moment? So really just deciding, and you can look and see more rationally like, Yeah, is this was this relationship actually good? And sometimes, it might be? Yeah, it was. And I realized that I had a lot of stuff that I needed to work through and sort out for myself. And I feel like I could go back into this from a healthier state. And I think we could have a better relationship. And we could have some better conversations, to see if this is something we both want to do. And sometimes you might be like, you know, what, actually, now that I’ve sort of reestablished myself and my life with myself, I’m good. Like, I’m good. And I realize it wasn’t, you know, if it was the right person, then we would have been able to figure it out. But, you know, it wasn’t, and so we couldn’t.

Chris Seiter 23:43
So here’s my question for you. And we’ll get back to the boundary things because I have like specific boundary based questions I want to ask about about the No Contact Rule. But timing of the No Contact Rule, how long is this period? I’m curious to get a psychologist opinion because I certainly have my own but I do not want to pollute the waters here. I’m what, what is a significant amount of or the acceptable amount of time that it takes your brain to kind of reset and recalibrate for you?

Julia 24:12
Okay, so I’m basing this off of science in other areas. And so I’m taking a kind of this, it sounds like a good theory, but I’m gonna say 90 days, okay, right. When you think about 90 days is the probationary period at a new job, that’s how long it takes, you know, to kind of get your handle on what’s going on in new job to start feeling settled, understand what’s happening, when it’s, you know, that hold that level of newness 90 days is what they say a lot of the time, you know, 90 days to establish a new habit in your brain, although that theory has been somewhat debunked, but you know, 90 days to break a habit 90 days to really establish a habit.

Chris Seiter 24:48
I’ve heard different things I’ve heard 90 days I’ve heard 66 days.

Julia 24:53
So you say what’s your timeframe for no contact?

Chris Seiter 24:56
Okay. So also to kind of stipulated here Um, people are hiring me to help them get their exes back. Like that’s like most of my audience. So I’m always having to juggle with that. So I always tried to tell people, it’s gonna actually depend on your ex’s attachment style. So you have to kind of manage your own recalibration with your ex’s attachment style. So we’ve actually found that if your ex is like, has an anxious attachment style themself or a fearful avoidant, if you’re not there to nurture that they can actually just self destruct specifically a fearful avoidant, if you’re not there to nurture the anxious side, when their anxious side is getting triggered, they’ll actually trigger back to a more avoidant side and it can take them longer before they sort of trigger back to the anxious. So I always tell people usually want about 21 to 30 days to recalibrate. Most of our clients, though, we’re recommending 45 days, so roughly around half the time. But I will say that people are like, they want results really quick. So a lot of times what’s happening for our clients is they are actually waiting 90 days, they just don’t really realize it, because they’ll make it 30 days, and then they’ll break no contact rule. And we have a hard fast rule, which is if you break the No Contact Rule, you gotta get started from the beginning. So usually, by the time they’re getting back in contact with their ex, or making that choice, it’s been around 70 to 90 days. And what’s really interesting is when we look at our success stories, people who’ve gone through our program gotten their exes back, usually it’s around five to seven months total from when they start working with us, which is really fascinating. But anyways, your tag, you’re it?

Julia 26:40
Yeah, no, and that is really interesting. And it does take work, right? Like if the relationship is workable, it takes work to come back together and to really sort things out, because there’s a reason why you broke up in the first place. And so you know, getting back together and working things out if both people are willing to put in the work, right, put in the work to, you know, to invest in a relationship. And that’s what it is. That’s what so much of it is it’s just really working on becoming aware of what someone else needs. And being respectful of that. And just really understanding that people are different. And is the person willing to do that? And are both people willing to do that. Right? Are both people willing to do that.

Chris Seiter 27:24
So the other interesting element here is like people who get back with their exes, we found that about half of them break up within a month or two, again. So they’re not necessarily putting the work in or they are recognizing, I’m not willing to put up with this anymore. But what’s really interesting, I did this study where i i started contacting my clients who had gotten their exes back like, a couple of years after the fact. And I started looking how long it took them to get their exes back. And we found that the couples that were still together, had the longest time apart. So they’re broken up for more than like a year or so. So I think that goes and kind of proves what you’re saying, which is both parties are kind of sitting back and thinking through things or maybe evolving or improving. So anyways, yeah, it’s interesting. But to get us back on course, here with the with the boundaries element, what are some tips that you can, that you can, I don’t know, have to set these clear boundaries about not contacting your ex, because this is the biggest issue for for our client base. So what are some clear things that you can do to prevent that from happening?

Julia 28:40
I’m really asking yourself, what’s the point? Right, if I we’ve been broken up for a week, because of issues that have been recurring, and that we haven’t been able to work through. And now all of a sudden, I’m going to call them. What’s the point? What am I hoping to get from this? What sort of could it be? Right? I might be like scratching an itch. Let’s let’s play get Am I gonna be opening a wound?

Chris Seiter 29:07
I’ll pretend I’m the client. So the point is, I want to convince them to try to win to come

Julia 29:11
back. What would you say to that? Have the issues in the relationship that caused you guys to break up in the first place? Have those been resolved and worked out?

Chris Seiter 29:22
That’s pretty good. I think at this point, they would say well, the breakup was just a misunderstanding.

Julia 29:31
Okay, it was a misunderstanding big enough to cause a breakup to happen. Do you think that in this one conversation that you have with them that the misunderstanding could be cleared up and then you could just peacefully move forward?

Chris Seiter 29:45
You’re like a clone of me. I don’t know what it is. Literally said this exact piece. I said this exact thing to someone in our community earlier today. It’s always it’s always interesting to because One of the things that we try to recommend to our clients during periods of no contact is to go see a therapist or counselor, or psychologist like yourself. And it’s always really interesting to me to see that therapist or psychologist reaction to the No Contact Rule. So we had this like one client, in particular, whose ex, this individual was living with his ex. And what, what my wife and I were noticing was that the ex would just basically use this person for emotional support. And then, you know, go on a date with someone else. And it’s just like, became this negative feedback loop. And so our argument was, hey, I think you need to move out of that place and kind of do a no contact rule from there. And so he started pulling away, and he started getting his own place. And he started having some success with this approach. And his question to us was like, Well, should I break the No Contact Rule now? And we were kind of like a stern? No, it’s working, like, let’s focus on you. But he was also seeing a therapist at the time and the therapists take was, Well, why would you want to do that? You’re starting to see some positive results, you should engage. I’m curious to get your take on the situation, what would you say? Where do you kind of stand in the in the spectrum?

Julia 31:19
So what is that mean, by positive results, his ex was starting to reach out to him and wanting to spend time with her each

Chris Seiter 31:25
show wasn’t explicitly stating that they wanted to get back together. But it was more like, I miss you, type type of thing. But I, so I’m also very jaded for the fact that I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and I’ve seen this exact scenario play out so many times to know what happens if you actually engage?

Julia 31:46
Well, I think it’s a cookie, right? It’s like a cookie. They’re like reaching out a little bit cuz they want to get that cookie of attention. Of course, they want the attention from the person. It’s manipulation, whether or not they’re aware of it, the X might actually miss them. But they’re not offering anything other than, you know, an emotional conversation to be like, I missed you. Right? They’re not offering anything. That’s it. Yeah. So that’s, that’s what that means. Just ask for clarity. What does that mean, I miss you, I miss you. I want to spend time with you, I miss you. I want to work things out. I miss you. I want to rebuild our relationship. What does that mean? And just asking for that clarity. And that is part of boundary work as well, is to ask for clarity. Right? saying, you know, and being able to say, if you are not offering one of the above, then please do not contact me. Do not text me? Because that’s selfish. That selfish, you’re getting an emotional rush from getting my attention. And it’s not fair. Okay,

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Chris Seiter 32:47
so you’re saying ask for clarity? What it like? Do you have any specific ways that you would phrase the asking for the clarity? I mean, you just gave an example. But do you have any more examples of what the person’s like I miss

Julia 33:01
you say? Thank you, no. thing. Great to hear from you. Why are you telling me this?

Chris Seiter 33:08
Okay. I like that. Oh, cut to the chase. Recording this because I’m going to point to this interview and be like, see, it’s not just me saying this stuff. This is an actual psychologist saying that?

Julia 33:21
No, I mean, at the same time, like if someone’s very adamant, they’re like, I want to contact them. I want to and I’m like, I would just say, You know what? You I am not holding you back from that. Try it, see how it goes. Right. And sometimes we need to kind of like, get beat up a few times before we’re like, oh, yeah, this is a pattern. So we this is the cause and effect. And then we learn and it’s okay. We don’t have to be like, if someone’s like, I have to contact my ex, I’d be like, You know what? Absolutely like your life, you have to make your own choices. Just understanding that there’s cause and effect and you have to decide whether or not you are willing to live with that effect. You can do whatever you want. You just have to have a conscious conversation. Am I willing, and some people like you know, I’m willing to put myself through that pain, the potential pain, potential heartache of getting back in contact with them and having my heart broken again. I’m willing to do that. Okay. Okay.

Chris Seiter 34:16
So I’m going to ask you a question now directly from one of our community members about setting boundaries. All right. So this person says, Can you provide some examples of how to set boundaries with friends and family when they push you toward marriage or having children when that’s not your priority?

Julia 34:35
Yeah. And so that is just having a conversation to saying, Hey, we haven’t made any decisions around this. I’ll let you know when we do. In the meantime, could you please stop asking?

Chris Seiter 34:47
So do when someone is when you have like a family member that’s prying in this way. Your approach is to acknowledge it and then set the clear boundary so acknowledge and set the boundary. So you’re going ology by basically saying, like, hey, we haven’t made any decisions about this, but stop asking me, basically, is that kind of the formula to approach?

Julia 35:09
I’ll let you know we do in the meantime, you know? Or if you’re like, you know, we’re not sharing that, you know, we’re not, we’re not, that isn’t a decision that we’ve made. Sometimes I would. And this is kind of a little bit more of a passive approach, but it can work. But bear with me on it. If someone asks you a question, or makes a comment that you’re not comfortable answering or that you don’t want to engage with. This is kind of a funny way to handle it. You can kind of just laugh and then like, redirect your attention somewhere else. Okay. TAKE THE BAIT, if someone’s like, okay, so when are you having a baby? When do you guys gonna have a baby just being like, Huh? So what are your plans for this summer?

Chris Seiter 35:53
Would you say? Would you go? Would you laugh? And then say like, Hey, you’re funny. And then redirect?

Julia 35:59
No, I just kind of I’ve done before, where you can tell someone’s just trying to, like, get it in there? And yeah, I’m no, no. Yeah. Almost a little bit ignoring it sometimes. Um, usually people won’t ask again. Sometimes they will. Usually they’ll take the hint, if you’ve kind of, like, ignored the question or just, you know, even kind of laughed off. It’s a more of a passive approach. But it works. Because it sends a subliminal message that I’m not answering this question. Some people won’t take the hint. And they’ll continue asking. And then you know, it can be hard, it can be hard to like, call something out, it can make everyone feel a little bit uncomfortable. And so And often, it’s not that the person’s trying to be nosy, they just are interested and want to know the information. And you’re, they’re allowed to ask, and you’re allowed to not share that. That’s one of the things that I think is so important, especially for those of us who have been socialized as women to believe that it’s our job to make sure everybody is comfortable, to make sure that everybody is taken care of. And so we think it’s our job to give people what they want, when they ask us for it. Stereotypically, I’m sure there are men that feel that way as well. But stereotypically, that throughout history, fact, case in point, women have been socialized to believe that it’s our job to take care of everybody else, and to make sure that everybody else is comfortable. And so we think that if someone asks us a question, our only option is to answer it, even if it makes us uncomfortable. Because we don’t want to make them uncomfortable by saying no. And so it’s our job to do our own work on being like, you know, what, I’m not going to make myself uncomfortable by trying to avoid making someone else uncomfortable, when I could just simply let them know that I’m not comfortable answering that, that I’m not going to answer that. And it’s okay. If somebody feels uncomfortable with our boundary. That’s okay. Right, that’s okay to say, you know, what, me not giving access to this part of myself. If someone doesn’t like that, I’m going to leave that with them. And that’s okay. Because the other option is, for me, to neglect myself in this process of giving someone what they want, just because they want it. They don’t need it. It’s not going to change their life in any significant way. But it is going to be not good for me if I betray myself in that way. Yeah, I think that

Chris Seiter 38:33
also sort of harkens back to stoic philosophy. I’ve been reading a lot of Marcus Aurelius meditations. I don’t Yes, please. Yeah. Right. But yeah, I mean, he’s like really big about kind of just not taking on other people’s problems, or not really spending your time wasting energy on things that is deemed non essential.

Julia 38:55
And I think you can do it in a kind way, because so many of us, like for me to be rude. Yeah, I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but I also don’t want to betray myself. So it’s finding that dance between how do I, you know, set this boundary and state this thing or not engage in this way if it’s going to make me uncomfortable, while also considering the other person’s experience of my boundary, I’m still going to set the boundary, but I’m going to consider the other person’s experience of my boundary when setting it which is probably going to make me set a boundary in a kinder way and that’s why I say I teach people how to set clear yet kind boundaries.

Chris Seiter 39:32
Okay. That’s the distinction the kind aspect, because sometimes I guess people are a little too stern with their boundaries and it’s off putting in creates, but all right, I got I got one for you here. Are you ready for this one? All right. Ready? You provide examples of boundaries to set when an ex you have built rapport with asks for sexual intimacy without commitment. Do you want to do that? Yes are our clients a This is nothing against our there’s nothing as anyone listening. But it’s been my experience that if our clients put themselves in a situation where their ex invites them into the house, they usually end up sleeping together. So I’m gonna go out and limb and say that most people will want that because they want their exes back. And they’re thinking, Okay, well, if I sleep with him or her, this will be create the commitment. But usually what ends up happening is it just creates like a friends with benefits type scenario that you’re stuck in limbo on for a while.

Julia 40:33
Yeah. Ask yourself, just play it out. If I go in here, and if this happens, if I’m honest with myself, is this going to change anything? And make my decision accordingly, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong decision. There’s just the decision with the reasons we like best. That’s a great quote.

Chris Seiter 40:57
I love that.

Julia 40:59
And so it’s not wrong to go in and sleep with your ex. It’s just what is the consequence of that? What’s good? What’s the outcome of that? And do you like those? Are you okay with that? Can you accept that? Right? And be honest with yourself, if you’re like, the only reason why I’m having friends with benefits, is because I hope eventually they’ll come around. And the other person has clearly stated, I just want friends with benefits, I will not come around, but you keep hanging on, you know, believe what people say, just believe what people say. And you don’t have to say stay in a situation that you’re really not okay with, and lie to yourself, saying that you are. And it’s a codependent belief. This is going to this is not going to sit well with some people. But it’s only codependency that’s telling you that I have to because I can’t lose this person. Yes, you can. Yes, you can. You cannot keep yourself in a relationship, no matter how attached or how much potential or how great the PERT you think the person is getting can’t keep herself in a relationship where you feel like shit a lot of the time.

Chris Seiter 42:14
Yeah, I mean, that’s what you can’t do all the time. Yeah. I think half the battle is just kind of making people realize that because it’s not something that we can sit here. I mean, we can. I’ve tried, I’ve tried to sit here and talk directly to people and say, like, Hey, this is most likely what’s going to happen. But it’s a whole different thing when they experience it and believe it themselves. And I think that’s kind of like the, what you’re essentially trying to say,

Julia 42:39
Yep. And sometimes we do like, sometimes we do have to go back for more and more and more and more and keep, you know, and until we finally realize, Oh, this isn’t going to change, this is not this is not a work in progress. This is a pattern. This is just what they are offering. And not to say that they are necessarily bad or wrong. But what they’re offering is out of alignment with what I truly want and need in the relationship. That means it’s not the right fit, and just having that honest conversations with our with ourselves. But if you’re truly like, you know what, I think that there’s some fundamental things in this relationship. And if we are both committed to working them out, and showing up and having the hard conversations and figuring things out, not where one person has to kind of lose themselves in order for the relationship to work, that’s not going to work very well. But if it’s honestly like, you know what we’ve had some you we do, really both are committed to each other, we love each other. And there’s enough there, we want to work it out. And yeah, great. Try, really try. But you know, and that’s how I think Chris too, is like sometimes I’ve been in that place where I just keep coming. I’m not gonna sit here on like a pedestal and be like, one and done, right? I am like, 50 and done. Please, like, let this be different this time, please let this you know, come on. I’ll change what I want so that I can be with you. I’ll be something else that I can be with you. I won’t get upset about these things, or let them bother me just so I can be with you. And I’m like, no, no. And then finally it’s like, okay, no, no, it’s a no. But you know, if you need to keep going back until you kind of realize, but just be honest with yourself when it isn’t No, be honest. What is this person offering? And is it in alignment with what I want and need? It’s not necessarily that someone is a bad or horrible person. They just might not be offering what you want and need and to be honest with yourself about that.

Chris Seiter 44:43
So what I really liked about what you’re saying is kind of inherent to setting really good boundaries is self reflection. You need to have a strong sense of self of what I’m worth and what you know where the line is essential. Lee. So I was obviously looking at your YouTube channel before we started, and I was watching, I think the codependent video that you did, and you kept talking about shifters and I’m like, okay, am I missing something here? What is the shifter? And then I, you know, halfway through the video, I’m like, oh, it’s like it’s like a movement type thing. So I want you to tell us a little bit about the shifter movement that you’ve sort of created. Yeah.

Julia 45:27
So my VA membership creates a monthly membership community called the shift society, where we have a membership portal with the foundational course, which is a my five step mind and emotional management tool. We really teach people how to build that emotional intelligence, how to understand what’s going on with them, how to become just more conscious, because so much we’re going through our life, unconsciously acting and reacting to life, we’re not consciously taking a step back, and getting curious and content contemplating and then engaging with life in an intentional way. And it sounds kind of dull and boring, you’re like, oh, Julia, that does not sound exciting at all, there can be both, there are times to just fly by the seat of your pants and just see what happens. And there’s times to really just take a step back and be intentional with the choices you’re making with the people you’re engaging with, with how you’re engaging with other people, with how you’re showing up in your day in your life, what what you’re creating for yourself in your life, and really being intentional about that. So that you can be living the life that you want for this one, you know, time this short time that we are here you can make this a wild and precious life. And so much of that starts with the inside with learning how to manage our minds and emotions. Not in like a stoic, like, you know, that typical kind of like non reactive kind of way, but just really learn how to work with yourself. Instead of letting your your feelings and your in your like kind of your urges just kind of take over and more often than not create a mess just about really working to have less mess in our lives. And yeah, to be able to feel like we are a lot more in charge of our minds and our emotions and our choices and then thereby our outcomes as a result. So I teach that and then there’s also oh gosh, there’s so much in the membership, I have masterclasses on specific topics when you first join, you’re gonna masterclass on deep lasting confidence, like truly learning how to build like a deep sense of self, one on self compassion, which I firmly believe is the missing tool and so much of the work that we do and so much of the cognitive work we do, we need to have self compassion that’s been really broken down by Dr. Kristin Neff, who is the pioneer of bringing the concept of self compassion to the masses and looking at the three elements of self compassion and how powerful it is for really transforming ourselves from the inside out. I have massive classes on how to stop overthinking we’ve had incredible guest speakers and they’re on polyvagal theory on just like hacking basic hat habits for wellness. It’s kind of like a one stop shop. We have a masterclass series on boundaries. We have one from healing from shame dealing with triggers, we just did one on Attachment styles, really learning about different attachment styles, and understanding what kind you are. Gosh, yeah, we have one on creating you know how to create your future, how to heal from your past, I think I said, we did a really fun one on the hero’s journey and how to be the hero of your own story. So

Chris Seiter 48:39
Joseph Campbell, yes. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Storytelling is like my ultimate jam. Like when I’m not. Yeah, so anyways, yeah.

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Julia 48:49
But anyway, so that’s just mindfulness exercises, we have an EFT, tapping practitioner that comes in, they went to bed, I don’t see it’s not like, it’s not like an eight course. You know, fine dining meal. It’s like a buffet, where it’s like, wherever you’re at, whenever you want to do some work on internet or

Chris Seiter 49:05
the Netflix model, you know, you just have a lot of stuff in there, you can kind of choose your own adventure, so to speak. And I feel like painting

Julia 49:11
though, is the core lessons everyone has to do before anything else unlocks in the membership. You have to do the

Chris Seiter 49:17
eight core lessons. And then you can kind of have the Netflix buffet where you can do the attachment style, the story stuff. I actually really liked the confidence thing. And I’m assuming the shift society is all about like shifting your perspective, paradigm type thing.

Julia 49:33
It’s really about understanding that major transformation does not happen in a moment. It happens one key shift at a time.

Chris Seiter 49:41
Ah like that. This sounds amazing. Yeah, it’s good.

Julia 49:46
It’s great. Chris, it is great. We have an incredible community. I mean, the people in there so it’s supported by a Facebook group. So we have people like you have your membership portal, and they do live sessions every week. We have a q&a Twice a month where anyone can I submit questions and I usually get to most of them, believe it or not. We have a hot seat session. So like a live laser group coaching session where I coach people live, we and then we have some kind of special session every month. It’s either in an in depth on one of the tools I teach, we have a guest speaker or I teach a masterclass on a specific

Chris Seiter 50:17
topic. Sounds amazing. Yeah, it sounds very similar to what we offer as well. So I feel like anyone who’s like digs, what we’re doing here in the community, or, you know, throughout ex boyfriend recovery is probably gonna love what Julia is talking about here. You also we were talking a little bit you said you wrote your book, which is drive your own darn bus, right?

Julia 50:40
Yes, yes, drive your own darn bus, where I do give a pretty solid understanding of a lot, a lot of the concepts that I teach, it’s a very good foundational place to start and kind of open up your brain to understanding how the human brain works, how thoughts impact our emotions, which drive our behaviors which create our outcomes to a greater or lesser extent, and just really learning how to start to kind of it’s kind of like emotional intelligence. 101.

Chris Seiter 51:06
I love that. And so people can find you basically, you have a counseling website, which I’ll link to in the show notes and everything. But also I really want to recommend her YouTube channel. It is out of this world. Good.

Julia 51:21
Thank you. It is a joy to just sit Yeah, build out that platform. I’m on Instagram as well. I show up there and show up on stories and do little quick snippets of teaching inspiration connection. Yeah.

Chris Seiter 51:37
Hey, thank you so much for coming on and doing this.

Julia 51:39
It has been my pleasure. I could talk about this stuff all day with you, Chris. It’s nice to geek out with another you know, psycho nerd

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