Self-Differentiation and Why it Matters in Relationships

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From GoodTherapy.org: Research shows the tremendous impact we each have on one another’s emotional and psychological health; our emotions, especially those that are negative, are contagious. It is important to differentiate ourselves from our family or relational environments in order to preserve our well-being.

“Evidently, we influence each other’s emotional and physiological health. The takeaway from this can be twofold: (1) just as we are wired for co-regulation, the flip side is we are also wired for co-dysregulation; and (2) time apart can allow our system to shift states and find our own homeostasis.

One way to think of this is that, to be there for your friend, partner, or family during difficult times, it’s important to make sure your system continues to be regulated and resourced. Basically, ‘in an emergency,’ make sure you put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. And make sure to frequently check your own oxygen supply and resources to be able to stay healthy and be giving of the love and support you want to give while getting through the turbulence. To be able to do that, it helps to have some self-differentiation.”

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