In this episode of Drudgery and Dreams, Molly and Angela dive into the importance of co-regulation. Last week, Molly showed us all how to co-regulate when she supported Angela when she got overwhelmed and was legit frozen from the restraints of time and the sheer amount of things she wanted to say about something she is so passionate about (BDSM as a healthy way to regulate). We address the value of co-regulation in all of our relationships—partnerships, friendships, as parents, at work, etc.
Molly’s profound statement right at the beginning says it all. She says, “I feel like a standing theme in the neurospicy neurodivergent world is constantly having needs that contradict your other needs, which is the most frustrating part of neurodivergent life” (Molly 1:39). Seriously, how confusing is that? But that is the way it works for many of us, especially those neurodivergent folks with co-occurring conditions like autism and adhd.
Co-regulation is for Everybody
There are two main narratives about care. One, self-care, you have to do it all yourself. And, you’ve heard Angela say it before and you’ll hear it again, Self-care is bullshit! (3:00) The second narrative is that having a partner means that they get to be “your person” who does it all. Well, damn, that’s a lot of pressure on one person. In reality, we need, and can have, multiple people who support us in a variety of contexts. “It’s not just about your spouse, your partner, or the person you’re having sex with…it’s okay to [co-regulate] in all of your relationships” (Angela 3:33).
Co-regulation, Parenting, and Control Panels
Children are tiny humans with valid feelings. Remember that movie, Inside Out? If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend watching it! It’s one of our favorites because we love the control panel analogy, which Molly reminds us that, as adults, it is our responsibility to help kids “add controls to their panel of emotions” not to make emotions go away, but to navigate them when they show up (17:05). And Angela reminds us that it is never too late to learn and model this ourselves (20:38).