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8 Signs You May Have a Codependent Parent

Updated on December 16, 2016
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Lanablackmoor has a degree in Psychology and personal experience with the topic.

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A check-list of signs to help you determine whether you have a codependent parent.
A check-list of signs to help you determine whether you have a codependent parent.

The Fine Line Between Caring and Codependence

The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term “codependent” is usually an abusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. However, this is not always the case. Believe it or not, most codependent relationships are between a parent and child, not romantic partners. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the lines between protective and obsessive, engaged and over-involved are often blurred beyond recognition. The caregiver/care-receiver nature of a parent-child relationship makes codependency particularly difficult to detect.

Here are a few signs to help you figure out whether your parent-child relationship is codependent.

1. The Codependent Parent Has a Victim Mentality

We all face obstacles in life, but the codependent parent believes that the other people in their life, particularly their children, owe them penance for the wrongs committed against them. Often this manifests in guilt-tripping behavior intended to garner sympathy from the child for negative experiences the parent has been through, with the end goal of altering the child’s behavior in a way that will somehow set things right.

This is where the problems begin. Rather than dealing with the traumas and difficulties in their own life through healthy means such as self-reflection and therapy, the codependent parent latches onto a child and demands compensation.

Compensation can take many forms. Many times a codependent parent will live vicariously through a child. For example, a mother who got pregnant in her teen years may demand repayment of the burden she faced by putting expectations on her daughter to seize advantages in life that she missed out on. A codependent father may demand that his son excel in sports to make up for his own lack of athleticism in childhood. If the child shows signs of taking their own path in life, the parent will use guilt to manipulate them into compliance.

Rather than dealing with the traumas and difficulties in their own life, the codependent parent latches onto a child and demands compensation.

2. The Codependent Parent Is Never Wrong

In normal relationships, one party is right some of the time but never all of the time. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the parent is always right. Even when the child is an adult, the parent will refuse to approach an argument or even a simple discussion with openness to the possibility of being wrong. Instead, they will seek to impose their own view of the situation and “correct” the adult child, as opposed to engaging in a discussion where neither party is presumed right by default.

So rather than listening to the child's feelings and problems and learning about the child's personality and way of being in the world, every situation becomes a threat to parent's authority.

Even if it becomes apparent that the codependent parent is wrong, they will not apologize—or, if they do, it will come off as forced or insincere. The codependent parent requires absolute dominance over the child, and any admission of wrongdoing on their part would be a sign of weakness and an invitation to challenge their dominance in the relationship.

In a codependent parent-child relationship, the parent is always right.

3. The Codependent Parent Is Overly Emotional

People sometimes end up crying, yelling, and giving others the silent treatment, but the codependent parent has refined these acts into an art form. When they feel that they are losing control of a situation or the upper hand in an argument, they will resort to crying, screaming, and other acts of intimidation to restore the balance in their favor. If called out on this manipulation tactic, the codependent parent will often accuse the child of being callous or insensitive, or feign ignorance altogether.

If the child cries or expresses hurt or anger, the codependent parent may get unusually angry and claim that the display, no matter how genuine, is insincere and being used to manipulate when, in reality, they are upset that their tactic is being turned around on them.

The codependent parent has refined crying, yelling, temper tantrums, and silent treatments into an art form.

4. The Codependent Parent Never Listens

Many children of codependent parents complain that speaking with their parent is like “talking to a brick wall.” In fact, one doesn’t speak with a codependent parent as much as to them. No matter how valid the argument, the codependent parent will not be moved in their position. Instead, even when presented with irrefutable facts that would cause a normal person to reconsider and reevaluate their position, the codependent parent will either refute the facts or move onto a different argument without addressing the point being made.

Speaking with a codependent parent is like “talking to a brick wall.”

5. The Codependent Parent Parrots Words and Phrases

Instead of listening to the child's feelings, a codependent parent will parrot, mirror, or mimic them. If the child claims that the parent is hurting their feelings, for example, the codependent parent will, perhaps seconds or even hours later, return with, “You’re hurting my feelings!” Whatever concern the child expresses, the codependent parent will find a way to turn it around and regurgitate it as their own, thus reversing the defensive and offensive roles in the conversation. If called out on this behavior, the codependent parent will ignore it, become angry, or act bewildered and confused.

The codependent parent will find a way to appropriate the child's feelings and present them as their own, thus reversing the defensive and offensive roles in the conversation.

6. The Codependent Parent Has Mood Swings

Drastic mood swings can happen over a couple of minutes or a couple of days, but the codependent parent has the ability to rapidly shift from one mood to another. This is especially true when their manipulation tactics have succeeded in garnering the child’s acquiescence. The codependent parent may be yelling and screaming one moment, but once they get their way, they may be exuberant. Conversely, they may sulk in an effort to rebuff any guilt as a result of their power play.

For example, a mother screaming at her son for not calling often enough may eventually get him to give in and promise to call more. Once she attains what she wants, in an effort to keep her victory and her role as the victim, she may say something like, “No, never mind. I don’t want you to call. You’ll just be doing it because you have to.” Then, the son will not only have to call more, but reassure her that this is what he truly wants to do of his own free will, thus absolving her from any responsibility and guilt.

The codependent parent will rapidly shift from one mood to another in order to avoid responsibility and guilt.

7. The Codependent Parent Must Maintain Control at All Costs

Control is the end goal of all codependent parents. Most codependent parents expect a level of devotion and love from their children that is unhealthy and unnatural, intended to make up for that which they lack in other relationships. Often the codependent parent wishes to garner from their child the love and/or attention they failed to receive from their own parents. This creates a dramatic role reversal of the parent-child relationship and turns it into a vampiric dynamic rather than a mutually beneficial one.

Whatever it is that the codependent parent seeks to gain by controlling the adult child, when it becomes clear that they won’t succeed, a meltdown will often ensue. If the parent controls with guilt by appearing frail and playing the victim card, they may become suddenly venomous and aggressive when the adult child refuses to give them what they want. Conversely, a codependent parent who controls through subtle manipulation and passive-aggression may suddenly become dominant and plainspoken.

It is important to remember that these dramatic shifts in the face of lost control are not a mood swing or an “episode.” Instead, the codependent parent is revealing their true nature as opposed to the façade they must maintain in order to keep things going their way. Once there is no hope of getting their way, this façade will become useless and be easily stripped away.

Often the codependent parent wishes to garner from their child the love and/or attention they failed to receive from their own parents.

8. The Codependent Parent Manipulates – Subtly

The most effective form of manipulation is the kind that you can never be called out for directly. Examples include the silent treatment, passive aggressive comments, denial of wrongdoing and projection, among others. The codependent parent will leave the child in a state of confusion, wondering who really is “the bad guy.”

Often, the parents will be genuinely unaware of their own manipulation. Many codependent parents truly believe that they are doing what’s in their child’s best interest and execute some of the most unsettling control tactics and manipulative power plays with simultaneous mastery and obliviousness. In fact, when called out on their manipulation with specific examples, the codependent parent will often be genuinely and deeply hurt and bewildered.

In fact, the codependent parent does not usually manipulate because they want to; they manipulate because they have to. They simply don’t know any other way to communicate with the adult child who is beyond their direct control. Thus, they will manipulate with finances, emotion, guilt, and any other tool at their disposal to maintain the imbalance of the codependent relationship.

Examples of things codependent parents will use to subtly maintain power:

guilt trips,

the silent treatment,

passive-aggression,

withholding (of money, time, or affection),

denial of wrongdoing,

and projection, among others.

So You Have a Codependent Parent... What Should You Do?

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover the basic signs and symptoms of codependency to watch out for. In my experience with my own codependent parent, many of these are hard to recognize but, on closer inspection, they deviate significantly from the norms of a healthy parent-child relationship.

There is no single, quick, or easy way to deal with a codependent parent. It depends on the individuals as well as the severity of the codependency within the relationship. In some cases, the only thing the adult child can do is sever ties with the codependent parent completely. In others, carefully imposed boundaries, discussion, and family therapy can be used to maintain a healthy relationship for both parties.

Many codependent parents truly believe that they are doing what’s in their child’s best interest.

Do you suspect that you may have a codependent parent-child relationship or know someone who does?

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    • profile image

      This is my parents 6 days ago

      I recently stumbled upon this article and it completely fits my parents. But I don't know how to approach them about this in a way that won't cause them to not listen to me. While this is all super accurate, I worry that it is inflammatory (codependent parents are always the victim and don't listen) and not what they want to hear. How did you approach handling this with your parents? Do you have any other resources?

      Much of the other aticles I have found mention drug or alcohol abuse, which is not an issue in my family. I think my parents are just "addicted" to me. If you wouldn't mind sharing any other resources (articles, books, movies) regardless of how inflammatory they are, I would be very appreciative. Thank you so much for your article. I feel like it all makes sense now. I just thought that my parents were insane.

    • profile image

      Justin Mathis 6 days ago

      In my 20s I lived away for awhile with my cousin as a roommate then with a girlfriend who became a wife. But I got divorced in my late 20s and went through a horrible ordeal which included a serious mental problem. I was forced to move back in with my mother and grandmother. We lived there for five years then two years ago me and my mom got a seperate apartment.

      I love my mom but she is a mess she lived with my grandma long before I moved in for 30 years and she refuses to live with her anymore yet she throws a fit when I mention that I don't want my own place. She has a 4 year bachelor's degree yet she's got too much anxiety to deal with people to get a good job so she can barely afford to pay half her rent. She would have to get a Government apartment because she doesn't have a husband and she doesn't make enough money to buy her own apartment so she lays a guilty trip on me that she might get killed and that I don't love my mother. When I bring up the fact that she doesn't want to live with her mother it goes in one ear and out the other.

      I'm not sure what to do. I'm not going to throw her out in the street and I don't expect her to move out tomorrow but when our lease ends in November I want us to live seperate and that's what i plan on making happening. But she doesn't respect my wishes I am a 35 year old man and I know no one else but me that is forced to live with his mother. Women find out I live with my mom and just assume I need her help but it's the other way around and I am single I want to have my own place and date.

      She is a very needy person that is 100% a codependent parent. We had a fight tonight and it's not our first one in the others I had been the one to apologize about how I acted but I realize she never apologizes I plan to not talk to her until she decides to apologize and tell me she respects how I feel. I don't know if it's the right way to handle it.

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      10 days ago

      After a LOT of reflection I would have to say this is total nonsense and confusing victims and survivors of abuse. If you replace "codependent" parent with "second narcissistic parent" who uses victim guilt trip either subtly or overtly, then you have the TRUTH. This person has some kind of cluster B disorder and is abusive as well, DO NOT be fooled by how good they are at convincing others they really care about their children, this is their mask and its BS. It can be really hard to admit what I just said is true. Good luck.

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      Dokie 2 weeks ago

      I"m sorry for you (and the situation you grew up in). I'm familiar with the "codependent, or narcissitic' upbringing.

      Your parents probably were raised that way too. Lucky for you that the situation with your mother is temporarily. You will not regret helping her in her last days, although it must be hard now that you were "living your life" finally. You can always try and look for help (friends, neighbours, family?)Good luck!

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      guest 3 weeks ago

      I find myself in a tricky situation in life. Both of my parents lost each of their parents and that's always hung over my head. All through my life my parents have pushed me and pushed me to do whatever they might be doing from hobbies to work. It's always been as though I'm expected to live out my Father's dreams of success in the entertainment industry, but I was also expected to follow him into a construction occupation for years and am continuously berated for not completely agreeing with their every political opinion. My Mother now has a terminal disease and it's a shocking and traumatic thing for our entire family to go through, but there's this part of me that can't help but wonder at the convenience of her diagnosis at exactly the same time when I had at last moved away to go just simply live my life. Now I'm past my 20s living with my Mother as her live in caretaker and I tell ya, it gets disturbing ... the timing of emergencies is always impeccable. I'm never able to care for any of my most basic needs, from simply showering to eating breakfast because her needs are constant, the emergencies are constant though rapidly resolved once all attention is refocused ... it's absolutely maddening in every way and I'm completely lost when it comes to changing anything. I feel I can't turn to anyone I know, as if there is no one on earth who could possibly empathize with all of this. I feel 100% like I am absolutely the bad guy, and only because I feel manipulated and controlled into staying here when there are actual liscensed in home care services for this kind of thing. I'm not trained for any of this and I can't wrap my mind around any of it anymore. If I go to my relatives for help they will surely just turn me away as my parents have spent my whole life convincing me they are all terrible people and as such my relatives have never had much of anything to do with any of us. And what would anyone do to help? I'm suppose to be here helping my Mother as her care-person for some reason but I just want to live my life, and I feel imprisoned completely from being able to do anything about it . . .

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      another guest 4 weeks ago

      I have a co-dependent mother and alcoholic father. He was always mentally absent and full of self-loathing. So she was the only one to go to for parenting and safety. I had extreme anxiety for many years extending into adulthood as a result of my relationship with the codependent. Childhood, adolescence and some adult years were lost in trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. She used all the tactics mentioned in this article. When you are strong enough, the best thing to do is to stay calm and refuse to respond to the lie that the co-dependent lives but you can't do this until you work thru the anger. Takes a lot of work. Find a good therapist and healthy, safe people and hang with them to start to get back to normal. The co-dependent is lost once they realize you won't be responsible for them anymore. Their recovery is up to them not you.

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      guest 6 weeks ago

      Thanks for the article. It helps putting many confusions into words. I never get to have a say on my own life decisions. When i voice out personal feelings and opinions, it gets diminished by cold shoulder, no eye contact, and "debt" talks. When I ask for advices, they treat me as incompetent for not fulfilling their incredibly high standards; completely disregard me and demand performance before any negotiation. They don't think I am competent to have free will and that I am in big debt to them. Freedom comes with their immense hostility and disdain (I had to live a life as mistake-less and attach-less as if I'm a monk; IT SUCKED). It used to slowly kill me from inside; having to try dealing with them and figuring things out on my own. Supportive friends sure make life much more meaningful and beautiful.

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      kim 7 weeks ago

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      Jessica 8 weeks ago

      My name is jessica, I was able to spy on my cheating ex phone without her finding out.....it really helped my lawyer during my divorce ...you can contact: hotcyberlord@gmail.com for spying and hacking phones,computer,email,Facebook and other social networks account,his services are cheap... His email address: hotcyberlord@gmail.com and please tell him Jessica referred you to him as he is a man with a heart of GOLD.

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      Louise Larsen 2 months ago

      Wow. Thank you.

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      Kimmyb1 3 months ago

      @Trinity it is imperative that you talk with a 'safe person'; a friend, a trusted relative, a health care worker. This is mental abuse. There are programs designed for independent living for individuals who are not mentally fit to hold down a full time job. It is vital that you move out. This is the only way you can get out of her constant interferences.

      Ending your life is not the answer-it never is, but sometimes we just can't see another solution. That's why you need to talk with a trusted person-so they can help you crawl out of the tunnel. You matter. Never forget that.

    • profile image

      Trinity 3 months ago

      I have always felt my mother was 'different'. After being diagnosed with BPD and doing in depth research into my own mental health issues, I learned that, although affirmative evidence has yet to be discovered, it is highly likely that bpd is linked in some way to gentics. I know my father self medicated bc of severe psychoses, though at the time, none of us understand what any of that meant. My mum, having done the same research as I have, spares no time in pointing the finger towards him as the source of my 'crazy genes'. But of course she would! Because she never takes responsibility for anything. Nothing is ever her fault. Then I came across this article the other day after another one of her vicious guilt trips and it all suddenly made sense. All this time, she has made me believe that my father, who died when I was 13 so he's not around to defend himself, is the reason I am so messed up. When in actuality, it's her! And it has always been her! Not in terms of genetics or heredity, bc that very well may still be true, but more importantly because of the way she has ALWAYS treated me, even before my dad died. And it just got worse and worse as the years went by. I'm 30 yrs old now, and still living at home with my mother because my mental health has declined to such a state that I am no longer capable of functioning like a normal person in today's society. And being the youngest girl with 3 older brothers who have all left home and now have families of their own, I am all she has left in this world to control. To manipulate. Even if it means completely destroying any possibility at a normal life for me. Even if it means that my life is in constant jeopardy. 10% of all borderlines commit suicide. And Lord knows I should be among those numbers with the amount of attempts I have made throughout my life. It has taken me 17 years to realize that unless I can find a way to break free from the invisible chains she has on me, and soon, then it is only a matter of time before those metaphoric binds tie a real life noose around my neck. And the worst part is, I truly believe that is the only way to truly make her happy...because then she gets to play the victim martyr card all over again. Someone. Please. Help.

    • Cricrinel profile image

      Elizabeth R 3 months ago from France

      excellent article. Very well written and to the point. I believe parents have to learn a lot with this article! Congratulations!

    • profile image

      Tariq Choudhary 4 months ago

      Nice Artical , Thanx for sharing this Artical ,

      www,bloghatworld.com

    • profile image

      Kalamari 4 months ago

      After reading this I am 100% sure that I have a codependent parent. I am 18 years old and still dealing with it. I have noticed these signs for a long time but never knew what was wrong. I thought the only way to help would be to have a sit down with her, but knowing that it wouldn't help her. She tries to control everyone around her, especially me. I am a full time college student and I couldn't even attend the college of my dreams because I had to stay home with her and babysit my brothers so she can always do what she wishes to do. My college is 45 minutes away and I arrive late sometimes because I have to take my brothers to the bus stop. I wanted to live on campus so I could be closer, but I'm not allowed to move our or have my car in my name until I have went through all 8 years according to her. I've tried talking to her, but she never understands where I am coming from. No matter what I do I am and never will be good enough for her. It's sad to think that once I'm gone my brothers will have to go through the same thing unless I find her help. Please somebody help me.

    • lanablackmoor profile image
      Author

      lanablackmoor 4 months ago from New England

      Thank you everyone for all the kind comments. I may not be able to respond to all of them (I try!) but I read all of them and it means a lot to know that my experience can help others!

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      Nedalee 4 months ago

      Thank you, Iana I really like this article I love reading this.

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      TM 4 months ago

      This is my mother to a T. She totally hit me out of the blue today and it turned really nasty. The damage is done and I really don't want to even bother with it anymore.

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      henkey 4 months ago

      good

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      Nedalee 5 months ago

      Thank you, Anna. I love reading this.

    • Janie Laviolette profile image

      Janie Laviolette 5 months ago

      One of the best articles on co-dependancy I've ever read.

      So clear, thank you so much!

    • lanablackmoor profile image
      Author

      lanablackmoor 5 months ago from New England

      @Phillip D That would be a degree in Psychology and an overabundance of personal experience, unfortunately. :)

    • profile image

      philip D 5 months ago

      lana, what is your line of expertise in this subject matter?

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 5 months ago from Philippines

      This is a highly informative article, and the video at the end was a good way to conclude your article. Great job)

    • profile image

      EWB 5 months ago

      A suggestion could be--it helped for me--reading Wayne Dyer's Pulling Your Own Strings. He discusses the sabotaging family, among other things

    • profile image

      NOW ARE NEVER 6 months ago

      Can you give me home writing job

    • profile image

      Ariesoul 6 months ago

      @#maggiemayI am 39 and just realizing

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      MaggieMay 6 months ago

      This article clarified so much for me! I am just now realizing, at 36 years old, that I have a co-dependent mother. Our relationship fits almost every trait mentioned, except that she is very passive aggressive and never says anything direct that she can be called out on. To complicate things, I have severe degenerative genetic health problems, so I have accepted financial assistance from them the last few years. It has come with more strings attached than I even realize! I only receive praise or attention when I am in line with the "program" of expectations my parents have. The rest of the time, I am treated like a huge, ungrateful burden who is ruining their retirement, even though they are quite comfortable financially. I realize I've wasted half of my life trying to please people who will never see me as good enough. I'm so tired of feeling like I'm in trouble, feeling ashamed of myself when I've done nothing wrong, and the constant maddening roller coaster of my Mom's giving and withholding. Thank you for writing such a clear, concise description. I have been so confused and this has really helped me!

    • lanablackmoor profile image
      Author

      lanablackmoor 6 months ago from New England

      @Fiona, yes, it is VERY common for a codependent parent to have a normal, healthy relationship with one child and a codependent, destructive relationship with another.

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 6 months ago from South Africa

      There are a lot of parallels here with my relationship with my mother. Just a question - she does act the same way with my one brother but is much better behaved with the other - she treats him very differently to how she treats us. Is this normal?

    • profile image

      GMK1111 7 months ago

      It is so refreshing to see an article that doesn't paint codependents as innocent victims that just care too much about other people. They can be every bit as destructive as the alcoholics and addicts they enable. The most unfortunate part is that they can make it appear they're acting in the best interest of others when they're really just doing it for themselves. The control part of it is absolutly critical. Codependents need to control everyone and everything around them no matter how petty and it's always done for selfish reasons.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 7 months ago from Philippines

      This is a very good article. I hope that more people read it, parents and children. It is quite an eye opener.

    • Bamboo Therapy profile image

      Bamboo Therapy 7 months ago from Hallandale beach, Florida

      Nicely written. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

    • lanablackmoor profile image
      Author

      lanablackmoor 8 months ago from New England

      Thank you for reading, KeikoArtz!

    • lanablackmoor profile image
      Author

      lanablackmoor 8 months ago from New England

      Good for you, roob, but that isn't what is described in this article. Some people have wonderful parents, but codependency is not love.

    • profile image

      newsy214 10 months ago

      letstalkabouteduc: When I move away I just know my mother is going to throw an enormous fit. She already goes off on me when I bring it up. I have to move away though so that my soon to be husband and I have better job opportunities and so that we can build our future in the location of our choice. I also feel that it will improve the relationship between my mother and I for the same reasons I am sure that it improved your relationship with your mother.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      Nancy Mitchell 10 months ago from Bend, OR

      I had a co-dependent relationship with my mother and still would if I hadn't moved away. Never once in our relationship was I ever right and she wrong. She turned every situation around so she was the victim and I was the bad guy. Moving away was the best thing I could have done for my mental well-being and for the sake of my husband and kids.

    • KeikoArtz profile image

      Kris Colvin 10 months ago from Colorado, USA

      This is a well-written article. Thank you so much for writing this.

    • roob profile image

      Ruby 11 months ago

      I am so dependent on my mom and vice versa... we call it love!(:

    • profile image

      Natasha 11 months ago

      The person who said this is "covert narcissism" that is NOT TRUE. My mother fits this description to a T, like you would NOT believe, and she doesn't have any grandiosity or sense of entitlement. This is classic codependent behavior, but you won't hear much of it on the internet because of the "narcissists bad, codependents good" trope you often hear online. If it is like any personality disorder, it would be borderline or dependent, not NPD.

    • profile image

      Bride2Be 13 months ago

      Are there any books out there that would be good for my mom and I to read on this subject? She is definitely co-dependent on me but doesn't really understand what that means. all the codependency books are about alcoholism and drug addiction. This is very different.

    • profile image

      newsy214 13 months ago

      She says this is NORMAL for a mother but is it?

      Background info: My parents and my partner's parents both live in the state we currently reside in.

      Now, my codependent mother says that if my partner and I move out of the state to where his siblings live but my parents don't live then I will be doomed to a future of needing she and my father and seeing how terrible of a thing I have done to leave she and my dad here while I move to another state where they are not. She says I will have children who put me through the same pain and torment that that would give her and that it is an AWFUL thing for me to even think of doing, leaving the state that she is in. She says she currently has no problem with my partner but that she WILL have an issue with him if he moves us to the neighboring state for a job that he may want.

      She made it sound like I was abandoning her by moving to the next door state just because she and my father do not live there. I told her to please move closer to where we will be if we do move there. She said my father would never want that... even though there is a city there that he has discussed interest in living in.

      What is this? Is this a normal thing for a mother to feel/ say to her adult child when her adult child brings up that she and her future husband have discussed moving out of the state for a job and better/ more stable future?

    • profile image

      Marlene 14 months ago

      I was looking for answers and found this. I have a codependent parents and I am 30 and still living under there roof. I have had multiple episodes where I literally break down, and cry because I can't even stay with my boyfriend without being told I am doing horrible things and living a terrible life. If I am out beyond 11 pm the incencent calls come . My brother and sister are brainwashed to think that what my mother is doing is okay and I know it's wrong or else I would not feel this way. I have student loans so I am stuck.

    • integrater profile image

      Certified Noob 16 months ago

      Very interesting hub indeed. Just as there are codependent parent their can be codependent child or spouse or something like that. Any relationship can have co-dependence factor, not just child-parent relationship.

      BTW, I am still a child and not a parent. So I don't have a bias.

      Thank you for an excellent, interesting hub.

    • profile image

      Allison 17 months ago

      This is so perfectly written. I would love to read more of your stuff.

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      Helen 18 months ago

      this is not codependency. This is flat-out covert narcissism.

    • profile image

      younex 18 months ago

      Compensation can take many forms. Many times a codependent parent will live vicariously through a child. For example, a mother who got pregnant in her teen years may demand repayment of the burden she faced by putting expectations on her daughter to seize advantages in life that she missed out on. A codependent father may demand that his son excel in sports to make up for his own lack of athleticism in childhood. If the child shows signs of taking their own path in life, the parent will use guilt to manipulate them into compliance.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 19 months ago from North America

      Thanks for this Hub that will enlighten many readers. Codependence is a strong issue in many relationships in America, as I learned in psychological practice. In the late 1980s, the American Psychiatric Association reported that at least 98% of Americans were affected by alcoholism and its related codependence or negative effects on friendships and work productivity.

      Today, codependence in American society is almost proverbial, attached to alcoholism and other substance abuse, depression and its corollary: anger; all types of abuse against humans, and about a legion of other mental health issues.

      Codependence, bullying, and abuse should be addressed in health classes K-12.

      Thanks again!

    • profile image

      KimmyB1 19 months ago

      Wow! I have read the article & every comment& just wow!

      How sad is it that I am 53 & finally realizing my relationship with my mother has never been normal?!

      I have pored over books & online sources. I know without a doubt my mother & her mother are/were co-dependent. I wanted to be a doctor as a child. My mother told me I could never be a doctor, so I went to the local university & became an RN. I married against my mother's wishes (she had to elope due to her mother) & finally had the courage to go to another state to become an ARNP. I realize now that if it hadn't been for my Dad, I wouldn't have had a healthy emotional chance. He took up for me & allowed me opportunities I never would have had otherwise. Only after he died last July (2014), did the co-dependency not have a buffer any more.

      I am an only child b/c childbirth caused her so much pain.

      For years, wherever I moved, she would nag at Dad until they moved to be close to me. We now live 700 miles from her & had a room built on after Dad died. She was here for two weeks & everyone was depressed. We all went to our separate bedrooms after work/school. Even my 10 yr old knew something was wrong with "Gammy". They had never seen this side of her & I had never seen it without subtlety & a buffer to help.

      I now honestly think her issues slowly killed my Dad.

      She doesn't see a problem with herself. I feel guilty about 'abandoning' her but told her I love her & will always make sure she is taken care of.

      What do I do? Is God going to punish me for not honoring my parent? This is all so new to me; to lose one parent suddenly to death & lose the other b/c of her actions.

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      Mar 19 months ago

      Wow! Eye opening for me. I am a co-dependent mother and I have a co-dependent mother. I'm screwed. Time for counseling ASAP!

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      MMM 20 months ago

      WOW. This article definitely clarified things for in me in terms of my tumultuous relationship with my mother. As a child & teen, my mom and I had what I thought was a loving and close relationship, overshadowed by my older brother's delinquent behavior and drug abuse. The stress that he caused for my mother caused a shift of sorts and as a result, she is more needy & verbally abusive with me and unpleasant to be around . While she pays my brothers $1400+ rent , she pressures me to give her money to pay bills with. It doesn't help that I am temporarily living with her which I see as a major problem. I earn a modest salary and am dealing with college courses and a $2000+ car repair that I am handling on my own while she earns 6 figures so there is no reason why she shouldn't be able to successfully manage her finances. Any attempt at telling her that she is co-dependent and needs to change is met with defensiveness about "us" trying to "psychoanalyze" her and yet she wants someone to feel sorry for her. She has called me a "bitch" and called me "dumb" during arguments and yet calls me disrespectful.....wth...she too will flip the conversation and play the victim role if/when I call her out on her BS..I now see that she may never change and that I can no longer depend on her in the way that I once did...I just want a sane, healthy & happy life and getting away from my mom is the way that I start to do that....the relationship is just not the same

    • serenityjmiller profile image

      Serenity Miller 21 months ago from Brookings, SD

      Wow, nailed it!

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      Carol L 23 months ago

      The sad thing is the emotional instabilities that go with codependency are signs & symptoms of serious mental disorders (i.e., personality disorders) that go untreated from generation to generation. There is treatment available, but in many cases it takes years to change the behavior because of the pervasiveness through the lifespan. The more people are educated about this, hopefully they will seek help. Oftentimes the one who needs the most care will never seek treatment but those who have been affected do & begin to change the family system. It's never too late to reclaim your life with gaining a deeper understanding of the root of the problem and stop the cycle of self blame and feeling responsible for another.

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      Michael 23 months ago

      this sounds like both my mother and fiancée. Scary!

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      newsy214 23 months ago

      I'm sorry, Angelica.

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      Angelica 23 months ago

      My family has endured a lot of pain and suffering and it continues as I have had to face the Demons that have surfaced from our childhood. my mother has turned into her mother and although she doesn't admit it, she knows that she has been caught lying but plays it off. She uses us brothers and sisters to play a game of he said she said and wants us all to fight over her well being. She doesn't respect our own lives and feels like we owe her so much for her sacrifices. I will not fight over taking care of her because I refuse to play the game. An episode last year showed me how much manipulation and deceitful behavior she really had when it became about her while I thought I was having a heart attack. I drove myself to the ER while she complained the entire way about why I was not taking care of her needs. Even though I was clearly in extreme amounts of pains and driving the car to another city, she made it about her, told my brothers and sister how selfish I was and then I was attacked when I got home. No one came to sit with me and no one called all while I was in the hospital because of what she thought was more important. Her dentist apointment! Codependents mothers are not mothers. This has been nothing but H*** for my entire life and I feel empty being around her. As the oldest I am expected to fix it all. My brother is a bad son for not being there and my youngest sister stayed away for more than a year because of how she acts and her backstabbing. My other sister feeds her need to be center of attention. I refuse and I will not be engulfed by it anymore. It feels like I have never had a mother that has been there for me emotionally. and I have given her books on it and she refuses to read them. She thinks it's not a big deal and I give up. I am going to just stay away. Therapy has not been helping and I told her therapist she is codependent and she laughed it off. Stating, "I work on people not so much a diagnosis." So much for professonal help.

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      Jo 23 months ago

      This is my mother 100% if not more!

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      Vladimir 24 months ago

      Cause of Sign No.2 I have strong need to be right.

      So many times the truth was berried cause it will shake the godlike image of parents. Now, when I'm with my friends, I have a need someone to tell me 'You're right, its true', just to get the validation of my perceptions back.

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      newsy214 2 years ago

      My mom said I am setting myself up for terrible karma because I asked her to please respect my boundaries and stop talking to me about certain things. All of this came from my telling her "No" when she called me and asked to move in with my partner and I because she was tired of my father. I told her no and she blamed everything on my boyfriend and said that I've changed. I told her and explained in the letter that what she sees as "change" is actually me becoming my own mature individual. I cried to her and explained that I am trying to build a life of my own now. Boy did she tear me a new one over that.

      She told me my boyfriend would leave me, that I was going to be punished and pretty much spoke doom over my future. I hung up because I couldn't stand the horrible words she was saying. Then she threatened to come down to my house. She sent me repeated text messages demanding that I call her back or she will show up at my front door. I kept responding to her explaining that she is hurting me and to please, please stop. She didn't care. She kept sending the messages until I called her back. She finally did, I think listen, to what I was trying to tell her but all she did was defend herself and continue to say bad things were going to come my way. By the time the conversation ended she said what she wanted to and blamed all of my issues on my father.

      That was bad. My boyfriend, my coworker (who is a behavior specialist), a friend of mine who also has a codependent mother, they are all trying to convince me that the things she said are not true and that those bad things she said are not going to actually happen to me. It is hard for me to understand though because what she will say is that she "knows" these negative things are coming to me and supports it with bad things that have happened to my sister and other people that she predicted karma coming to.

      It is terrifying. I can't possibly be wrong though with what I did and my letter was very, very respectful and loving. I was pleading for normalcy. Now she keeps posting things on FB about honoring your parents. How am I not honoring her? I just wish she were happy for me and proud of me for finding someone who is good to me and loves me and that she were proud that I am trying to build a home and family of my own now.

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      Marina 2 years ago

      Oh my gosh, I forgot to add - reading Mark´s comment just reminded me of something very important I forgot to share...

      Mark, what you said about you and me against the world, and your Mom setting you up in situations where you were the victim (she sabotaged you) - mine did this to me too.

      She kept me in an abusive, isolated and unhealthy social environment, despite my repeated requests to leave - we are talking 4-5 years. She downplays this and changes the story, sometimes it was for my own good, other times it was because she knew better for me than I did, sometimes it is my father´s fault, sometimes it´s because the family couldn´t survive if I hadn´t stayed there. It´s messed up. I´m very suspicious that part of the reason she kept me there is because I was a very strong willed kid, and that unhealthy environment kept me in a victimized situation (loads of bullying) - which was a way for my mother to relate to me and also to keep me in line (because she was forever the victim... and I would go to her for advice and help - not knowing as a kid that she had the keys to open the prison cell but just chose no to). Maybe I´m being paranoid, but I think she wanted me to be in a toxic environment. It´s very disturbing.

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      Marina 2 years ago

      To all the commentors, and especially Newsy, you´re mother is manipulating you and do not believe what she tells you!

      The only way for you to become your own person is to choose to not take the guilt she is throwing your way. I am working with a therapist now to try to figure out how to be a real person, lol, since this kind of parenting sets us up with a role reversal kind of situation.

      This is really sad, but I am grossed out by the way my mother "loves me." Like one commentor said, it´s like heroin for her. That´s how I´ve felt for a long time - like "love" a.k.a., control of you so that you will suit her needs or mirror her, is like a weird fix. And the need never stops. She is never satisfied. It´s really really sad, but mothers like our have not learned to love themselves and so are trying to suck it out of us.

      It´s going to sound very cold, and as most of us do really love our mothers (in spite of all of this - which really amounts to abuse p.s. because it is exploitation by nature), we have to love ourselves more. Your mother, if she is anything like mine, will consider your personal development and growth threatening and will likely attack you. This is very painful, but its also proof of the depth of your mother´s problem and your need to heal from this and become your own healthy person.

      Mom will not likely understand and she may complain to everyone she knows about how hurtful of a son or daughter you are, and she is a master at this so you may get some backlash from your community or family. I was lucky enough to see my sisters and father support my choice (they understand and love me healthily), and I live far away from my Mom so I just don´t care if her friends think I´m a terrible person.

      That´s the key: Mom will cast you as perpetrator and herself as victim. You already know she will, so brace yourself and build up your boundaries, self esteem and strength away from her. Once you are ready and mentally prepared for the backlash, do what you must to protect yourself. You have to be ready to give up whatever "relationship" you have if need be for your own health, sanity and well being to do this well.

      I know how hard this is! I was so co-dep with my Mom too, but you can escape. If I can, you can.

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      Joseph 2 years ago

      Is my spouses mother damaging our relationship?

      We want to move in together but can't because her mother has lived with her since the parents divorced a decade plus ago. Since then daughter has to supply transportation. Pays for most if not all living, food, and medicine/medical bills. Mother refuses to take care of herself. Mother coming from a marriage that consisted of her being a codependent housewife. With years no responsibilities.

      My girlfriend wants to stop living together with mother & move in with me. To take our relationship to the next level. But is afraid and confused on how to tell/help mother to change her own life for the better by getting a job. Living on her own. Relying on herself & not her daughter. Afraid of the outcome of not paying for mother meds.

      I see the pain in her eyes when she explains to me her feelings of suffocation & depression caused by her mother. Unable to live her own life.

      How can she take her own life back into her own hands?

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      newsy214 2 years ago

      I just finished composing a 3 page letter to my mom stating my feelings and requests for respect and understanding. I hope this goes over well when I email it. Not going to lie, I am preparing myself for the worse reaction possible.

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      Lisa 2 years ago

      My husband can't keep his hands off other women. It seems he finds reasons to hold them from their waist. I have told him many times that this bothers me. I thought he had stopped but I saw his hand on hostesses waist just below chest. But he becomes a different person when other women are around. I am 4 months pregnant but his habit is stressing me out. He also tells me that I am overreacting, now i just found out he is cheating on me and right now my heart is broken, this is the time i need him around me but he left with the young lady for good six months.i suffered taking care of myself and our baby thanks to Dr. Airiohuodion who help me use love spell to return him back, i also thank my very good friend Kate from united kingdom who introduced me to Dr.Airiohuodion the wonderful spell caster, me and my family are happily living together as husband and wife, he has totally changed and he is now the best husband....you can reach Dr.Airiohuodiondirect on his email: airiohuodiontemple@gmail.com

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      Mari 2 years ago

      I keep reading this article again and again. I have a codependent mother who made excuses for my father's abuse when I was younger ("You have to remember Daddy yells because he is sick") and worshiped a boyfriend who emotionally abused me for years because he happened to be wealthy. I am in the process of cutting myself off from her and maybe, depending on what happens, the rest of my immediate family. I will make an exception to this if my parents go to therapy. I, myself, have been in therapy for years due to this dynamic. It's their turn to be adults now and it's their decision now whether they want me in their life.

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      newsy214 2 years ago

      Sometimes I feel like she had children just to have someone to lean on for support. That's terrible of me to say but the older I get the more I think that. I can't take it. I can't do it.

      At any point i feel like she is going to ask to live with me because I moved out. She already does ask if she could live with me if she ever needed to. That's the first thing she asked when I moved out. THE FIRST THING she asked/ the first thing she had to say. You are married, healthy, and not elderly. No. But what do I say "Sure mom." because if I don't say yes then I am neglecting/ abandoning/ turning my back on her and God will punish me for that.

      I have my home now and a man I plan to marry. What will I do if she wants to move in with me because my father doesn't have a job? That will kill me and ruin my relationship. But then she will say I am putting my relationship before her.

      This is my fear.

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      ONEBIGMISTAKE 2 years ago

      I wish I would have seen this article four years ago. I was in a relationship with a man who was in a Co-dependent relationship with his Mommy. He would spend four nights a week staying overnight at his Mommies house. He would talk to her on the phone every day and when away, send daily emails. He would confide in her about his life, work issues etc., and take her advise on issues etc.. When we would go out shopping, he would pick up things and say "Oh Mom would really like, could use or would love this"...and just in random conversations he would reference his Mommy....Mom this, Mom that. This was alllll the time...none stop!!! He would cancel time with me, to be with Mommy and would rather go home to Mommies on a Saturday night...then have a 'sleepover' with his hot(lol) girlfriend! Not sure why he even pretended to want to have a real adult relationship with me....because he already had a girlfriend/wife(Mommy)....The only thing the two of them didn't do was to f___...hmmm...maybe they were...who knows...sick relationship, very twisted. Ladies if this is you....don't waste your time!!! It won't change and really do you want a man(child) like this?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i didn't know there is such word for parents. thanks

    • Jeffrey Harper profile image

      Jeffrey Harper 2 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      There are parents that fit the description in this article. However, the article does not describe codependency at all. A definition of codependency can be found here http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/Codepend...

      Codependency - A Codependency is a relationship in which an otherwise mentally-healthy person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected by an addiction or mental illness.

      To me it sounds like the article is describing someone with a cluster B personality disorder. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pers...

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      Mark 2 years ago

      I have a love/hate relationship with my mother. That is horribly toxic. She has caused me problems with every girlfriend, for over 20 years! She has caused me problems at work and when I had my own business and was doing very well she would not leave me alone, stalked me, sent a girl to date me once, had the police check on me several times, had random people call me with wrong numbers. Show up banging on my door, send me long psycho type emails preaching Jesus to me and telling me I'm being deceived by the devil or some whore! The end result is I went broke due to stress and making bad choices due to losing my inner peace just as the economy collapsed. And then of course had to come to her for financial help! Sure she will help me but then at what price, my peace of mind and sanity!

      When I was 18-22 I was told over and over about how hard it was out there in the world, and how lonely it is and how we are a team! I was also told over and over of all her near miss airline flights. I guess to put fear in me so I would never go on trips away from her or maybe just because she hates flying. I never got on a plane out of fear until I was in my 30’s but only after I reprogrammed my mind and got rid of the fear.

      We went though years of poverty due to her bad choices. It also worked out that whenever I worked she somehow stopped working and vice versa so that we were always dependent on each other. (wow as I write this I really see how evil this situation is). She drove off the one woman that I loved and would have probably married. That day started with an argument, and ended with my and my GF in jail! Partially do to my girlfriends reaction. But my mother played the biggest part and to this day refuses to accept she did anything wrong. She bought me a car that I ended up having to pay for and the she borrowed it and ruined the engine.

      She will never take responsibility for any of her actions. And she is a chronic victim and is constantly being victimized by people and the fact that she's brainwashed Christian/Jew whatever this week does not help. She can’t do anything without it being some kind of hassle and someone is always trying to steal something from her or working against her. (What a great subconscious role model growing up)

      Every day, I wake up to texts and calls from her even after me telling her it's too much and it ruins my day. If I don't respond she text the same text over and over and then she'll start saying that If I don't answer she will have someone check on me or she will, or she'll call the police and she knows I do not want to police around due the Jail incident she help create years ago! Btw I once left my garage open and I woke up to police in my living room because she called them to check on me!

      I stopped speaking to her for two years after she moved into the Apartment Complex I lived in but that only made her get more obsessive and worse with the stalking both in person and online.

      I can go on and on. I have tried for over 20 years to have normal relationship with her. I have made lists spelling out what not to do and she refuses or she lies and promised and go right back to it in a few days. I once told her I'm a happy person but when she is in my life I lose the will to live and feel suicidal and to leave me alone because she was a trigger for those feelings and I need to work on that and I need my space (I have spent years, undoing the damage she has done, with NLP, Meditation, EFT, Self-Hypnosis) She called the very next week! I realized this is not love but a disease like as drug addiction. Because no one that loved anyone would force themselves on someone (emotional rape) that just said please you make me want to kill myself!

      And to top it off women believe that stupid myth that a man will treat women how he treats his mother or not date you because of it. It would be much easier if she died. I could just say that rather then to try to explain this non-sense! The only women that understand me are women that also hate their co-dependent mothers! And now I have never treated a woman like I treat my mother. I would never treat anyone but a co-dependent, stalker, psychopath, like that! And as soon as I saw those trait I would exit the relationship. If only it was so easy to do that with your mother!

      I have distaste for single-mothers due to this because I see the same in them and I know they are most likely going to turn into Vampires that will suck the life out of their adult male children at some point.

      Every man I have met that has problems with women and is alone has a co-dependent or overbearing mother and they are all miserable!

      My mother was a very good loving mother until I was about 16 and started asserting my will and wanting to become a man. Then it all started going downhill.

      There are 5 types of single mothers.

      1. The one's where the guy died. That not their fault and it's tragic and they have to do the best they can.

      2. The women that are single because they so messed up they can't keep a man around or choose unfit men that they have to leave.

      3. Those that were not responsible enough to use birth control, Guess what if you're not responsible enough to use birth control you're not responsible enough to raise a child!

      4. Those that had a child so they would not be alone! The worst kind and my mother! That child is destined for Hell On Earth! An abortion would be loving mercy I assure you!

      5. Those that don't want to be mothers but are quilted into it by family and society think "Casey Anthony"

      And I'm tired of hearing the "My Baby!, I don't need a man!" Yes you do! And it's not your baby, it's another life with feelings, a soul, spirit, body. It's not here for your, amusement, pleasure or to keep you company! It’s not a dog or cat! And he is not your little man he is a child and not meant to replace a man as your partner and he or she does not owe you anything!

      So 4 of the 5 are unfit to be mothers period and they should give the child up for adoption or abort (And screw you if you don't like it because I'd have rather not been born then live though the hell I have been though from my mother! I speak from experience not brainwashing and religious dogma)

      If you are a single mother you need to make it your #1 priority to not become a codependent mother and ruin your child life!

      If you have a co-dependent parent. GET AWAY NOW! Do not try to fix it they are toxic and it's beyond their control just like a Heroin addict! Do not feel guilt, do not look back, understand you have a choice of waste your life or get away! As they will drain you and it may even be unconscious but they will create situations to always need you and will try to undermine you success unless it includes them.

      You cannot reason with them, you can change their mind, it will not get better in most cases!

      Do not waste your life! You will never succeed when you are on an emotional roller coaster, have someone always pulling on your attention, and trying to run and ruin your life!

      Then when they get older after not letting go and never really letting you live, they are old so now you have to take care them. So you're entire life is nothing but being tied to them and never living! They should all rot in hell for stealing their children’s lives!

      No true freedom and these ****ers don't die they will live to be 120 as long as you are in their life! So you will die alone all by yourself because no one will want to be part of the hell you are in!

      That's my experience and opinion. I hope it helps some of your escape before it's too late! I have been a very loyal Son but I have reached my limit and I wish I had broken away completely years ago. Because the endless cycle of love/toleration, Feeling Disrespected and Violated, Hate/Rage and then Guilt it very unhealthy and will destroy your life.

      Remember this as someone that new my mother once pulled me aside and said "You don't owe your parents anything, You did not ask to be born!" Especially in a case where your parent had you because she didn't want to be alone rather than to deal with her issues.

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      Des 2 years ago

      I feel like I could've written this about my own mother. How do you manage YOURS?

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      Maybe 2 years ago

      Codependency might be part of the inherently dysfunctional family unit. Codependent people have children to validate themselves (that is their reason for having children, not other people's). A community unit would be more empowering for children.

    • Smeety profile image

      Smeety 2 years ago

      I find this article spot on. Some stuff I've never read before in other reads, and this seems to provide lots of validation.... I'd really like to know more about it.... maybe some sources, and more about lana blackmoor... is she a counselor of some type?

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      Marie 2 years ago

      It's amazing how this list describes my mother completely. I feel such relief knowing there are others who are going through this and realizing that I am not evil for wanting to set boundaries. My mom is extremely controlling and she always guilt trips me into giving in and saying I agree with her. It is so hard to exert my own opinions and my independence. She causes so much anxiety and depression in me and I don't know how to deal with it. I am glad I have begun therapy so that I can work through it.

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      Anna Ed 2 years ago

      Jim it's so hard dealing with negativity. I too have a good job, a lovely daughter and I'm financially secure. My mum is always negative about anything I do or want to do if she doesn't agree with it. She manipulates me and tries to control my life. If I try to take a stand from her she's in tears and makes me feel guilty and that I'm in the wrong,

      All I want is a normal relationship with her. Not one where I constantly feel under the spot light and being judged.

      I can't give you any advice jim and even though I recognise I don't have a healthy relationship with my mum I yet to challenge her but then she is able to manipulate the situation and I allow her back in being hurt time and time again.

      All I want you to know is your not alone. I'm free to chat whenever x

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      Jim 2 years ago

      Over the past year I have got in shape and started my own business. However, all my mom talks about is my sister whose life is going down the toilet. When I bring up my successes she quickly changes the subject. She doesn't even know what I do for a living and never asks me about it or simply how I'm doing. It makes me feel like the only way she would love me is if I had some serious problems which I thankfully do not.

      How I deal with this is to simply ignore her. I still have a relationship but just ignore her when she talks. There's no point in listening to her constant stream of negativity. I still get angry occasionally as it's hard not to but I can't think of any other solution because even though I don't want her to be, she's still my mom... I guess...

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      Anna Ed 2 years ago

      Newsy214 I have exactly the same problems as you. My mother is so dependent on me and constantly making me feel bad for not being there for her and saying how she doesn't count in my life anymore etc.

      I've been to hell and back with her behaviour this year. Dealing with the way she is causes me depression and anxiety and I'd love to speak to someone who has the same problems. We could private message or email of your willing?

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      newsy214 2 years ago

      KiKi, what do you do about this though?

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      KiKi 2 years ago

      JFC This is EXACTLY my mother. It's like this entire article could have been written about her, specifically. Amazing. Thank you for articulating my experience so perfectly!

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      newsy214 2 years ago

      How do I separate myself from her without her claiming that I am abandoning her or feeling that I am abandoning her? She always tells me "after all we've done for you" and "I've been there for you through your hard times you need to be there for me through mine!" and more... That second one really gets me because I see it as her mentioning times when I was growing and struggling through things that young people go through in becoming an adult. You are my mother. Mothers are there for their children and children can be there for their parents but it's not supposed to be the same dynamic. I am here for emotional support but I can't be everything.

      I can't fix your marriage. I can't deal with you trash talking my father anymore. If you want money, I will give you what I can. I am here emotionally. But you have to allow me to grow. You have to allow me to build my life without giving me this feeling of responsibility to be your rock at the same time. My father should be your rock. If he fails in that then seek more counseling.

      If I were to say any of that then it comes back to "You are abandoning me and tossing me aside just like everyone else has!".

      What do I do? Please help.

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      Adi 2 years ago

      This article is really interesting! I really recognise my mother in this description. I originally thought that she may be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Could you perhaps explain how co-dependency differs from NPD?

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      mkc42 2 years ago

      This article just made me realize years of misery are not my fault. Thank you.

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      Ilona E 2 years ago from Ohio

      I had no idea about the label for this behavior until the last year or so- I definitely had a codependent mother. I'm now working through what that means. Better late than never I guess.

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      Me 2 years ago

      What a great article and it describes my elderly mother to a T. I did not realize how bad her control and abuse was until well after my forties. I have learned to set boundaries and demand to be treated right and respectfully. I know she's always been selfish and manipulative and likes to play victim when you try to set boundaries, but in order to survive I had to learn to set limits and boundaries. She is old and needs my help and I will always be there to help her but on my terms now. And no more guilt tripping because I will not allow her manipulation to affect me any longer. If you see yourself in this situation, stop trying to make them see how abusive their behavior is. They are not going to change, ever. YOU are the one who needs to change. Lovingly but firm. Good luck to all of you who are in this situation. I know it is devastating and hurtful when it comes from your own mother, but It Is What It Is and YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR. Peace and blessings and do stop letting people walk all over you, even if it's your own mother. It's not healthy for you.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      This is such a great hub! As the daughter of a co-dependent mother, and a co-dependent person in recovery myself, I know the damage this can cause and I am so glad someone is shining light on the subject. Voted up and shared!

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      bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

      Very informative article!

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      Marie 2 years ago from Canada

      This is a great article. I most definitely have a co-dependent parent.

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      Shaleen Sinha 2 years ago from Delhi, India

      This is an excellent article. I like simple writing. Most importantly, the symptoms and signs you specify resonate deeply with my mother and I. While going through it, I was afraid you would give complete separation as a solution and it proved to be true. I am in the process of making the final call on that eventuality.

      If you can maybe write another article on how to deal with a codependent parent, I would be very interested in reading it. It can be unsettling to have a parent like that and solutions and suggestions are always welcome.

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      Mary 2 years ago

      This exactly describes my father.

      He writes letters and speeches for immediate family parties, which tell of all his woes.

      He has even written a letter listing'all his life's hurts' which we have been told will be read at his will reading.

      He refuses to accept he is ever wrong and as a young child& adult left me feeling hurt and confused. I can now see him for the narcissistic that he is.

      Thankfully my husband is the opposite to him.

      Im 45 yrs of age and my son is marrying at the other side of the country. My father wrote to the minister conducting the service in advance 'to introduce himself'. This is because my son's marriage has to be all about my father!

      He cares only for himself and I find easier to keep my distance.

      If I don't I get very depressed.

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      TanD 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for this. Every time I've tried to set boundaries my co-dependant mother will make me feel so guilty that I inevitably end up giving in and acting as she wants me to - it's definitely the subtle manipulation and acting the victim technique. For years and before reading this and the comments I've felt like I'm such a bad person for wanting to set boundaries or cut ties but now I'm seeing that it's not just me and that wanting to end this co -dependence doesn't make me a horrible person.

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      Chris 2 years ago

      Explains a lot about a lot. Thanks so much for posting this!

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      jen 2 years ago

      I'm not entitled to have a life. She depends on me for everything and gets mad if I spend time with a guy.

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      Sarah 2 years ago

      Very important information! Thank You.

      I'd love to see a follow-up on practical ways to deal with the daily dynamics of coping with someone that I feel manipulated by, and yet love very much. It's a heavy burden to be on an emotional roller-coaster each and every day, never knowing what kind a drama or conflict a parent might create. Some problems are valid, but some are created to get attention, so it can be hard to sort it out. I wish I had a clone to deal with my parent, then the real ME could go live my life. lol

      I really need a mental vacation.

      As Maria stated, my biggest obstacle is resisting the need to FIX. Whew! That's a big one.

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      Kathy 2 years ago

      I started therapy a couple of months ago for my "mother issues". This week's session, the word codependency was said. I didn't know what it was, I just thought my mom was crazy. I few years ago, I drew very serious boundaries for my mom. I had to just to heal and get a better perspective on her selfish and tormenting behavior. I never, ever call her. She calls me about once a month, and Ikeep it short. We only see each other a few days each year. I keep her away from my family as much as possible to protect them from her. She is so hurtful, controlling, manipulative, and plain mean. I can't be with her long. I get very defensive around her, very stressed. I hate her. She adds nothing positive to my life. Her love is not love but desperate need. Her needs, and fears too, come before all things. I am nothing but huge disappointment because I no longer feed her with what she craves. Love for her is like heroin. As I read more and more about this whole codependency thing, I see that my mom is very codependent, as was her mother (who lost her mother to Spanish flu in 1919 when my gram was 7 years old). And of course, I am too, just codependent lite. Thank goodness I learned about this so I am finally able to do something now to stop the madness of my own making. The crazy train stops here, and everybody's getting off. No more crazy. I'm all done with crazy.

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      YellerKitty 2 years ago

      Excellent piece ... I found myself nodding in recognition in several places. That said, I can also easily imagine someone reading this who may have a parent who refuses to allow them to be codependent and who will consider that parent 'manipulative' when the only 'manipulation' is of not giving in to the emotional blackmail the adult child is attempting to use to get their way. It's frequently useful to examine relationships more closely to see the root of the behavior.

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      Maria 2 years ago

      It´s nice to know that this is not so abnormal and that others share this experience. Thank you for writing this and to those who shared their responses, the same - they really mean a lot.

      For many many many (...) years I was too scared to look critically at the signs that my mother is codependent - even though she fits every one of these (#4 frustrates me the most). Even now, I have never said aloud that she emotionally abuses my father through codependent manipulation tactics, though she certainly fits the bill there, too. She has been punishing him for 30 years for all the things he has "done" to her and for maintaining his own, albeit, now somewhat cagey, personality in the face of her desire for dominance.

      Codependent parents coerce you into enabling them from the time you are a small child, so much so that as an adult it is extremely hard to look critically at the relationship dynamics you share. Deep down I love my mother, but I have been battling a sense of responsibility for her and anger towards her for a decade (and the intense guilt that accompanies those) unable to see that the reason for it was because I was ready to enter a path towards emotional health, as an individual, partner, daughter and sister - and that would mean letting go of my own codependent need to fix her rather than my own contributions to the dynamics.

      She has many sides, even more tactics, and never seems to be able to see reality or take responsibility for her own choices. I´ve made a choice to no longer feel sorry for her or think I can save her or my parents´relationship. My sisters and I are not responsible for her and neither is my father.

    • lanablackmoor profile image
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      lanablackmoor 2 years ago from New England

      Wow, thank you for sharing it! I'm so glad people are finding it helpful.

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      Musu Bangura 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

      I pinned your article the other day, but I also just went ahead and added it to stumbleupon if you don't mind. Thanks again for this info.

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      Heather 2 years ago

      I hate!!! Reading this but I'm so glad you wrote this article. I'm a codependent mother. Most of this fits me to a T, but also my daughters suffered from me, needing everything perfect (in my eyes),avoiding reality ,going from boyfriend to boyfriend.... with my codependency problem. My eldest daughter gave me a copy of (Codependency no more by Melody Beatte) for mother's day 4 years ago since that day I've changed myself for the better (therapy,coda meetings,reading blogs like this.

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image

      Musu Bangura 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Thank you so much for writing this article. It's not always the children giving the parents a hard time. It can definitely be the other way around and very difficult to deal with.

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      lanablackmoor 3 years ago from New England

      I've noticed that many people think of codependency as only happening in romantic relationships, too. Strange, because the most common cases I've seen are in friendships and families. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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      Cyndy Adeniyi 3 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for writing about co-dependents parents. So much of the information on co-dependency is focused on romantic relationships. I worked in an office with two co-workers who were co-dependent. They had a habit of driving everyone crazy. Its nice to see some out-of-the-box ideas on the topic.

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      Jessica K 3 years ago

      I can totally relate to this article. My dad is the codependant parent, and it is not easy. He has PTSD, BPD, Bi-Polar, manic depression (highest of highs and lowest of lows). My Dad and Ifit all of the 8 signs. I went to therapy for two years to figure out how to deal with this, and the simple answer is to sever ties (in my case that is). It was a cycle, I could predict when he was about to fall back into his old ways. After reading this article I felt validated. My Dad fits all of the 8 signs.

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      violet-femme 3 years ago from Australia

      I can relate to this a whole lot, unfortunately. Having a co-dependant mother with suspected BPD made for a very difficult childhood and subsequently a confusing and upsetting adulthood.

      On the up side, I've been seeing a wonderful therapist and have been building healthy boundaries with my mum. She has made a few positive changes, but never seems to want to seek help for herself which she so desperately needs. It breaks my heart to not see her as healthy and happy as she could be, but that's part of breaking the cycle.....giving up on trying to help and fix her. I love her very much, but it is still so hard at times.

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      s ann 3 years ago

      Mom was narcissist or boarderline or had dependent personality disorder or was bipolar or was codependent or ALL of the above. Emotionally I was neglected, no doubt. I was definitely codependent with her - so what does that make me? I diagnosed myself Complex PTSD as lots of attention seeking led to no good + flood + car accident + spousal abuse then shocks of death [spouse] & kidnapping [mother]

      What kind of prognosis is possible? at 53 years old!

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      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      Hmmm…I think I know a co-dependent parent or two. Thank you for the insight!

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      Bob 3 years ago

      This is good but what do I do about it?

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      Kbeach 3 years ago

      So how do we live with them!

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      gimpymelon@yahoo.com 3 years ago

      This article is written as if someone completely based it off my mother and I. Especially right now since we are really going at it over a pretty serious situation that she is trying to control and comes at me with scare-crow arguments, circular logic, and random subject changes when I catch her in a contradictory argument.

    • lanablackmoor profile image
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      lanablackmoor 3 years ago from New England

      Thanks for the comment, wba108! I agree, it's often tough to recognize the blurred lines between "normal" dysfunction and abnormal behavior.

      Thanks, Anna-Rose! I'm sorry to hear that, but glad you can relate!

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      Anna-Rose 3 years ago

      This describes my mother so accurately it is scary!

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      wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

      Nicely written and informative look into this issue! Every family can probably see some of these traits in their relationships. I guess its tough to know what's normal and what's unusual. Dependancy and control can be easily masked, as you pointed out but at some point our true nature comes out!

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