The thing about being my mother’s daughter is it is never NOT about being her daughter.

There have been stretches of time, sometimes even significant, where I can convince myself that I have carved out a space for my own life that does not coexist with hers. But, like any good, codependent relationship, this is pretty much impossible.

I have a theory, the details of which I have not quite yet fully worked out, about young, single parents and how their relationship with their children bears the brunt of the stunted emotional growth. I.e. if, like me, you have a parent preoccupied with people leaving them, they will do everything in their power, consciously or subconsciously, to make sure that you never can. No matter how this might affect you.

There is a thing that happens to a child when it recognizes that it is not planned for. Not that its conception wasn’t planned for; this is a different thing entirely. But rather, that everything that comes after that is a secondary consideration, if a consideration at all. That its adjustment/well-being is not the paramount consideration. That it has been told all the things it should do, but that no one has made the appropriate concessions or provisions to make sure that it has the means to accomplish them. The child learns to put itself second to work, to other people, to anything really because, after all, how does it feel worthy of even being considered, if it never has been?

Really, this is all a very eloquent way of trying to understand what I don’t understand. Why, at 27, our relationship is this way. Why I can easily trace back the roots of our issues, but not how to sever them. Why there is not a clear, easy path to do what is healthy and helpful.

It is easy to say all those things. Because it is not easy to say that I am angry. Angry that I’ve spent so much time catering and tending to her. Angry that so much of my childhood was about her and her issues. Angry that even now, my life can’t seem to stutter step forward, without hers falling apart and getting in the way. Angry that I still feel such a misplaced obligation to step in and help fix it, to shoulder burdens that are not mine, to take less than just so that she is not alone.

And, despite general consensus that I might actually be a good mom, that I don’t even know where to begin to break this cycle, and I can’t do this to another child. So I am angry that, once again, what happens in my life is predicated by what has been wrought in hers.

5 thoughts on “Codependent

  1. I think to some extent we cannot help but be products of our parents' greatness and also their weaknesses. It might be difficult (and by might I mean it ABSOLUTELY will be) but ask your self what stand to gain or lose by her actions. You're not going to be able to change your mom. But you can get to the root of the dependence from your end.
    If mom…can't pay rent (for example) what do you gain/lose by stepping in and covering it for her? Make yourself answer the tough questions repeatedly. You'll get to some harsh realities.
    Most important though, you'll be okay. Awareness is 80% of getting better, Love.


  2. Let me tell you something…. I thought mami was an asshole… Then I met yours and said: well damn!, at least my Harpy is self reliant


  3. @ASmith I hope I can figure out how to separate the two, too. If for no other reason than I'd like the cycle to end with me.

    @Dave Not to unnecessarily compete, but I think it might be worse for sons of divorced moms. B/c then they become “man of the house” and all the responsibility and codependency that comes along with being a husband/father substitute. That being said tho, getting any woman to let go of her child is damn near a death match. Lol


  4. I actually see this alot with children from single parents. The child in effect becomes the spouse and getting that detachment is like a divorce.

    I don't have any answers for you, my mom was happy to see me go, but I will wish you good luck on your journey.


  5. The confusion and frustration you're feeling is definitely palpable in this post.

    I empathize with the co-dependency and sympathize with how you can't even begin to get to your own issues for your mother's issues always being front and center and most important…

    I do hope you manage to figure a way through this…


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