Family RelationshipsParentingAdoption & Foster CareEducationHaving a BabyYouth ProgramsChildcare

8 Signs You May Have a Codependent Parent

Updated on December 16, 2016
lanablackmoor profile image

Lanablackmoor has a degree in Psychology and personal experience with the topic.

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,


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?

See results

Your Two Cents

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ggg 10 days ago

      Yep this is a narcissist. Describes my own mother. Not codepenant at all....... and it’s at the top of google. I hope people searching for info bother to read the comments.

    • profile image

      John 10 days ago

      This article 100% describes the narcissist. Who ever wrote is either a narcissist themselves or has no clue what they are talking about.

    • profile image

      Debra 11 days ago

      Amy is correct. This is describing Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This is my 99 year old mother who, even now, makes my life miserable. I am 61 and exhausted. I wish I could go ‘no contact’ but it is not possible to turn your back on someone so old. Frail in body, maybe, but totally evil.

    • profile image

      Amy 2 weeks ago

      This article is describing Narcissistic Personality Traits- not codependency.

    • profile image

      Biting Bird 2 weeks ago

      We just recently went No Contact from my codependent mother and father over a year ago. I am 48 years old and struggled for years of dealing with everything listed in the above article plus many issues not covered.

      I come from a family of confusing upbringing, abuse on multiple levels and once I became an adult the manipulation from my mother manifested into a more clever and sinister form similar to what's mentioned in the article about subtle manipulation and guilt with retracting after the adult child acquiesces etc...

      My mother would 'rewrite' our childhood history to perhaps sound better than it really was which is pointless and many times inaccurate according to timelines due to the age differences in my siblings and myself. Most of the true stories were fine as they were: our not having enough money to afford certain clothes, my not driving a specific car we owned. I don't know why it necessary to embellish our history to make it seem 'better' when the truth is what gave us humility.

      However, the abuse and trauma she would rather I leave in the past all together and she doesn't acknowledge any of it, and there was plenty to cover. Enough for me to seek therapy and decide I could no longer play 'Good Little Daughter' any longer.

      Thankfully I have a wonderful husband of 26 years that has helped me through this journey and I have found a fantastic tribe of supportive friends (one being my sister) that have stuck with me through something a lot of people just don't generally understand. I don't expect anything of the rest of my family. This was my decision for my healing. I forgive. I love. But I can't forget.

      One can love from a distance.

    • profile image

      Marcus1778 3 weeks ago

      Alright so needless to say this was a very interesting read.

      I'm 23 years old and I have a crippled 60 year old father that I still live with. Mom took off claiming that my dad was all of these things when I was 7 years old and dad made her out to be an evil woman for it. Dad raised me homeschooled which was really no schooling at all.

      Recently i've started seeing more and more bad things about my current situation, and maybe even seeing what my mom was talking about now even though i haven't spoken to her in years. I tested at 17 for a GED so I could go out and start working, I didn't have much of a choice because my dad hasn't worked since I was 14 and we were on the verge of losing our house and going completely bankrupt. He always said he was too crippled from a lifetime of hardwork to continue working. I always thought that the right thing to do was to take care of him since he took care of me, I worked myself crazy for many years and saw no personal benefit out of it. Finally I worked myself up to where I am now, I'm an oilfield worker on a 7 on and 7 off schedule making plenty of money to go out and finally live life instead of working 6 on 1 off like I did at my last job. I make plenty of money to continue paying down the mortgage I inherited and even stash some away.

      However My dad hasn't gotten off the couch for 6 years now... Occasionally he might cook or clean the house up a little but thats it. No helping out with the financial situation, Which even that would be fine but everytime I try to make plans or go do something I get guilted into staying home with him, Or something else comes up to stop me from going out and actually living a life.

      I would love to move out and just live on my own, but He's now been a Diabetic for 8 years and isn't really dealing with it in a healthy manner. He does have trouble walking which is why I don't begrudge him for not working. I don't want to leave and have him lose his house that isn't paid off for yet, Nor do I want to see him get sick or fall down and hurt himself without someone being there.. but at the same time i'm 23 years old and I can't go out and do basically anything except work because He will throw a pity party for himself and basically guilt me into staying with him so he won't be lonely. Feels like i'm left with the decision of either throwing away his life or throwing away my own life.

      Not sure what to do.. but it's atleast nice to see that i'm not alone and this appears to be an issue among alot of people. Best of luck to anyone out there who is dealing with issues that pertain to this subject. I know first hand how hellish it can be.

    • profile image

      Lydia 5 weeks ago

      Thank you very much for posting this. It was like you wrote this just for me. I have been struggling with my codependent mother, especially as an adult. I am 45 years young. LOL I am an only child. She always put me down, comparing me to other people, harping about my weight, my grades (despite being a straight A student), my career choices. I even graduated top of my class in college (summa cum laude) and yet that wasn't good enough. She didn't even attend my graduation, because she was embarrassed that the college that I graduated from didn't have a "good name."I went to graduate school. She refused to attend that graduation, saying that grad school was a waste of time. She has done everything that she can to maintain control. First, it was financially, holding on to my inheritance, which I finally gave up fighting for. Then, she tried to manipulate my daughter/her grand-daughter by telling her of all my "mistakes." I finally had enough when we bought our house, and she started calling my husband a loser and stupid, and telling me that I was stupid. After she sent a very nasty text message, I blocked her on my social media and phone. My husband and I have had problems in our marriage, but since ceasing contact with her, we have had peace and can see how damaging she was to our marriage. But she has persisted on finding ways to get in touch with me. I have changed my email address and am about to change my phone number. She is so controlling. I feel bad for her at times, but know that I cannot keep the cycle going. I doubt that I'll speak to my mother again, but I know that I'm doing the right thing. I don't want my daughter around someone so manipulative.

    • profile image

      Chatterbox76 5 weeks ago

      I truly don’t know what my situation is with my family. I went from taking care of my mother for the most part. All 59 years I am her only daughter and have three living brothers all within a 30 mile radius of each other. My mother was diagnosed with dementia and then the grief begins. My brothers and in laws and nieces and even my one daughter (38) all ganged up on me. I was her POA and doing everything the POA was supposed to do, I tried relentlessly to have a meeting with my brothers and they refused. Saying there is nothing wrong with her and she just has short term memory loss, she is 85. Now my mother and I have always had a rough relationship, she simply does not know how to Love. For years I would do anything and everything to try and get her to love me. To fill that void I have been longing for since I was a child. She blamed me for everything. She always protected my brothers. She and my daughter are very close. She shows favoritism to her over all her other grandkids. My daughter and I used to be close. It’s all changed and I don’t honestly know why. I tried to express my hurt over all of this. And it kept getting pushed back on me. My other daughter gets treated like crap by her. Always has. She’s used to it she said. Her and her sister have no relationship. Well, my daughter (her favorite) is now her POA. I got thrown under the bus by my entire family with exception of my one daughter. Now the estranged daughter lost her house and has moved in with my mother. She is married (I paid for her entire wedding) she has a 2 year old son that I have been stripped from seeing. Been almost a year now. My heart is broken beyond belief. I live alone with my four legged best friend. And still after all of this non-healthy toxic crap I am standing. Had cancer twice and currently in remission. My doctors want me to remain as stress free as possible. My one brother attempted to choke me during this nightmare drama over my mother. All because they don’t get it. Denial. I don’t know. They wanted me out. I believe my mother is a game player too. She tells stories. Untruthful ones about me and they believe her hook line and sinker. I have been accused of stealing taking advantage of and you name it. My aunts my moms sisters, no better. They know I would never do something like that. They know all I have done for her etc. I truly think my mother is sick and not only with dementia. Her whole family is dysfunctional. I got out of it almost a year ago now. However, my heart remains broken. My loss of my mother and daughter and grandchild is almost unbearable. I ask myself why are you still yearning for your mother and daughter to love you? I think that makes me co dependent perhaps. My mother years and years ago blamed me for my father divorcing her. I was only 21 then. I took on the guilt and kept trying to find her approval of me. In this whole mess my daughter latched on to her. My mother is a liar, she’d tell me one thing and her another. And I truly believe she floats over all of this. I wish I knew why? I may never know why. My family refused to talk to me. And just yesterday my ED moved in to her home. Why am I hurting so much. I do seek therapy over this mess. I am putting my focus on the one daughter and grandkids who do love me. However I still have a hole there. I think of the kindness I have given to my mother and my ED. All I wanted in return was respect. And I couldn’t get even that. My cancer did not bring our family closer. My mother was not there emotionally for me, nor my daughter. But she is for my ED and her my mother. I walked away, however not completely. Hoping they especially my ED would come to realize some things. But I still remain a broken soul. I got to the point of constantly doubting myself. Question myself is it me? Wow, the whole family against one. What message does that send to me? There has to be something wrong with me. Although deep inside I think it’s not me, it’s them.

    • StephieAuggie2010 profile image

      StephieAuggie2010 5 weeks ago

      Hi I'm new here I kept doing online searches for my situation and I kept coming back to read here. Long story short I moved in with my 60 yr old mom because the last couple of years she's not been herself she isn't remembering she's engaging in inappropriate behavior and has seemingly lost any sense of boundaries (I can be getting dressed and she'll start talking to me through the door and just walk in and keep talking or she'll offer waaaay too much info on her bodily happenings in convo with people) she hasn't been taking care of her house like she used to, a few times she's forgotten to feed her bird all day she was seeing a psychiatrist for depression and anxiety but I think she's manic bipolar I've seen her go from extremely depressed for three days to suddenly out of nowhere she's upbeat cleaning the house it's two extremes all my life I bent at the will of my mom and there were a few times she put me in situations where I was alone and had to fend for myself or caused trouble like when I inherited money at 20 she helped me put $ into a CD and told me "don't tell your father you have this account" I get back to my dad's to find out she called him and told him in what must have been right after I left her house because they lived only 5 minutes away driving distance, she's been pouting when I go with my idea instead of her she really pushes her ideas and it feels like she's bossing me or manipulating me because if she doesn't get her way or I speak up she pouts and for the next few days she claims to have all day long panic attacks BUT WONT SEE A DR she stopped seeing her psychiatrist and stopped meds she's given many reasons for this from not liking the Dr to not wanting to take meds because they are more dangerous than helpful, my fiance and son are here with me so I have my fiance to talk to but he has no experience so can't give advice just an ear to listen. I don't know what to do with her being stubborn and not seeking medical care for her mental illness, she has gone from pretty peaceful to sometimes combative verbally and passive aggressiveness, she is also coming up with memories of things that never happened or even make any sense like I went to visit her neighbor with her and she told this woman I was so bad when I was little that she kicked me out of the house when I was 9 said that she picked me up and physically removed me from the house, that is so bizarre to hear I have no idea what to make of it that's just one example there's more, I don't even know if I've covered everything I just had to come and talk and would love advice tonight was hard i stood up for something and spoke my mind (not rudely or about a sensitive topic it was about my son's rabbits cage) and she suddenly got withdrawn and stood in the kitchen at the table in plain view and just stood there silently and still for nearly 19 minutes it was so creepy it was like she didn't like what I said so she was pouting to get me to react or coddle her? Just my take on how it felt it was like a child pouting for attention, I do NOT handle people trying to manipulate me well at all

    • Sheena Bradley profile image

      Sheena Bradley 6 weeks ago from Ireland

      Ryan, I am sorry you are so sad about the relationship troubles you are experiencing. You are young, I am 51 and am only now feeling strong enough to 'hold my boundaries' with my family members. I suppose I'm saying, I think you do know what you need to do. I'd love to say 'perhaps your mum and sister will change' but experience tells me that they probably won't :(

      Just take small steps at first and see how you get on. Distance yourself gradually as yes, it is painful... but so is being involved with people who hurt you and can't treat you well. You will hopefully have many years ahead of you with your wife, perhaps even starting your own family. Be true to yourself. Good luck!!

    • profile image

      codependent parents 6 weeks ago

      How do you move away from codependent parents with literally no help out on the outside?

      Neither of them are interested in helping me and then just complain about me as if they're the victims.

      If I go for a walk, one of them tracks me down immediately. A couple times they called the cops even though I was just trying to get away from them.

      When they feel like they're losing control, they've also threatened to bring me to the police station or the hospital just for standing up for myself.

      Unfortunately I don't have a time machine to assert myself at a much younger age and put my life in my own hands.

      My therapist's answer is deep breathing techniques lol. Unless you've been in the situation, people don't understand how toxic this parenting technique is and the only answer is to get as far away from them as possible early on.

    • profile image

      Chatterbox71 6 weeks ago

      Spot on. Thank you for sharing these insights; it's so important for children of such people to understand--as EARLY on as possible--that they are not losing their minds but are being manipulated and made to feel blame they don't deserve. I am just beginning to understand the level of mind games played on me, especially from age 10 on, after my dad died and I was alone with such a parent--and I am in my 40s! I've only just begun to begin severing ties, and I am disgusted by the number of hours I was made to feel awful about one thing or another, the numbers of hours I spent (and still spend) in therapy because of someone else's blunders, and the way it has unravelled relative normalcy in my life (SO many ways). Bless any of you who have gone through this. I hope you can find new people to be in your corner your whole life through. I know personally how hard it is to "create" family when there is none to speak of.

    • profile image

      Harps 7 weeks ago

      This is very sad! I've lived a life full of happiness but also so much sadness, my parents always argue over stupid things, my dad left the house when I was 16 I was hurt and confused. My mom had a brain surgery when I was about 8-9 my parents were absent my whole childhood. My dad would constantly drink and never care and my mom would be in the hospital crying. I knew from an early age that my family was broken and I hated everyone around me. Things just seem to have gotten worse my mom is constantly moody and always yells at me I've tried so much to help her and keep her positivity and she doesn't care me and my sisters are always upset but have to put a smile on our faces Becuase no one must see us sad. I'm 21 now I still feel jealous of other kids who have amazing parents that listen to them. My parents are great parents to other kids.

      I hope that one day I never treat my children the way my parents treated me and my sisters, I hope we are all happy and can stay positive.

    • profile image

      Anna 7 weeks ago

      I've been married for 9 years now. My MIL is the codependent parent to my husband. It's exhausting and I can see even how our relationship is getting affected!

    • profile image

      Anonymous 2 months ago

      I don't know why no one here gives any answers as to how to deal with parents like these. It's all about venting. No one is listening to each other?

    • profile image

      Sulaymaan 2 months ago

      That's almost exactly what's going on between my father and I. It all began in high school, we always had a tight relationship. As a child I was unaware of the lack in the fatherly provider department of my childhood circumstances. So being the hard worker I am I picked myself up a paper route, shoot" I even got myself2-3 routes innocently earning money as a little boy and saving my money for the things I wanted most to make up for my father's shortcomings.

      Not to say I "ungrateful" for having a loving father, roof over my head, and groceries. However once I graduated high school I immediately found myself a good job. Unfortunately simultaneously my father lost his job, plus the recession hit!

      All was cool, I was attending college plus working2-3 jobs, until a bitter reality kicked in that here I am working my a** off meanwhile my father's on staycation not even keeping a clean home for me to come home. Where I find myself doing chores which I don't mind, but I clearly bit off more than I could chew. Then I find myself getting in heated arguments with my father which seem like he was always home, and I had no space for me. Now I'm30 dropped out of college, trying my best to keep on track again and live my life. However it is challenging being that I'm currently dependent on my father "now he's working" steadily for once, yet he's still dependent on me to do stuff for him. When I dislike being selfish (as he once before described me being, [guilt tactic] but I need to focus on me! I enjoy be independent, way before I can take care of anyone else. I don't like having to rely on anyone else for what I want and need out of (my) life.

    • profile image

      Zarina 2 months ago

      I believe my mother is exactly as this described. Our situation is very long and complex to explain, but she's always felt fake. Like every word or emotion she's said or displayed to me was forced or not real. And she always started arguments with me about EVERYTHING. even after I turned 18. She's shame me and insult me, and if I fought back she'd cry or blow up even more and say things like " I never want to see you again for the rest of the night" and try to ground me. She got mad at me for not telling her I was moving out after highschool( age 20 now. . I'm a slow learner) and started a fight with me when she found out. Then she was cold city. Until the last two weeks before I left, where she turned the situation around to look like a saint. I haven't spoken to her since, and have her blocked on everything. Including her number.

    • profile image

      Fiona 2 months ago

      I feel as though my parents really hate me! My dad hasn't spoken to me in 7 yrs and will walk past me and my toddler on the street, and my mother is always angry at me! They never like this with my brother! Its hurtful and makes me sad and angry inside! Im beginning to think i am a problem!

    • profile image

      Ryan 2 months ago

      My mom is in competition with every female that enters my life and cannot reflect on her actions to see that they are ever wrong. My mom is over emotional and never actually listens to anything I say. When I am talking she is only brainstorming what she is going to say next.

      My mom thinks that my sister(28) and I(31) need to be best friends and we do not have personalities that work well together. My sister is always in competition with me but there isn't really anything to compete over. She cannot elevate her life to me emotionally, financially, or respect that I get from others. She often makes irrational decisions that are based on emotion and doesn't consider others feelings. I make very calculated decisions and don't think much of competing with her in any way. I think that my sister would be excited on the inside if something drastically bad happened to me but would be the first person to post on facebook that she is so sorry for me.

      My mom constantly tries to make us all get together for any event... I am in my 30's and my mother gets mad if I invite her and my dad to dinner for my birthday and not my sister. My sister is also married but only dated the guy for 3 months before deciding he was "the one" and got engaged and married 6 months later (irrational and emotional). Married for 2 months now.

      I am currently at the end of the rope with my family. They have said so many crazy things and are somehow always spinning every situation to seem like my girlfriend did something that caused every problem. I am getting married in a 11 days to my girlfriend. We have been together for 3.5 years and got engaged on christmas eve. The day before my sister got engaged to her bf of 3.5 months. I knew that my sisters bf was talking about asking my sister to marry him because he had asked my dad after knowing my sister for 8 weeks. When I asked my girlfriend to marry me on christmas eve I was told by my mom in front of my girlfriend that I was stealing my sisters moment because her boygriend was going to ask her to marry her on christmas. However, I had ordered the ring for my girlfriend when my sister and her boyfriend knew eachother for less than a month. That moment when my mom was telling me that I had stolen my sisters moment in front of my girlfriend after asking her to marry me was the deepest I have ever been cut emotionally.

      If it wasn't for my father I would have probably ditched the toxic relationship with my mother and sister a long time ago. I have tried very hard to keep a relationship with my dad separate from my mom and sister but that is very challenging (my parents are married).

      I love my dad and he has made a lot of financial sacrifices for me to go to college and I appreciate everything he has done for me. He has always supported me and my dreams of racing dirt bikes. However it is coming to a point where I just cannot keep putting my future wife and myself through the emotional roller coaster of my family. I don't know how to continue a relationship with my father or if it is even possible. My mom runs his ass over when it comes to making any decision that isn't financial. I just don't know what to do.

      I am leaning toward cutting ties with my family after our wedding so we can lead a drama free life. I know my future wife and I both need a break from them.

      There is a lot more to this story but I cannot write it all right now. Stuff like this has gone on for close to 11 years now with multiple woman that I have dated. My mother and sister always find a way to dislike or hate the person I am dating. In one situation my sister became friends with a girl after I stopped dating her after she hated her while I was dating her. I think the girl was okay with it cause she missed me and thought maybe it would help her to get back with me.

      Writing all of this down makes me sick to my stomach and makes me mad at myself for wasting so much time on my mom and sister. Cutting my mom out of my life is not an easy thing. It is emotionally straining and all of my friends/ family are people that will have questions. I am the type that tries not to talk about family issues with friends but my mom and sister will somehow blame it all on my future wife and tell anyone who will listen how horrible she is. My life is a disaster and I am supposed to be excited about getting married.

      Most will never understand the attitude that I brought to my sisters wedding but they invited over 200 people to the wedding and my future wife has a sister that has spent holidays with my family for the last 2 years, has been camping with my family, has been invited to everything we do and is a nice person. My sister and her have never had problems but she was specifically not invited to the wedding even after I asked her to be so there wasn't any hard feelings. I know that my sister only did this because it was my future wifes sister and she thinks she can get away with it and it will make us irritated. My sister invited people she hardly new to her wedding. People she hadn't seen if 5 years were invited but someone that is around all the time was not invited. If the same person was not related to kristyn and new my sister as well as she did she would have definitely been invited. My sister even invited my soccer friends from high school (I was surprised to see them there). Long story short my sister is evil. A week before the wedding my sister said she would invite my wifes sister if we invited her new husbands parents to our wedding. First off, I had only VERY briefly met them twice (my sister has known my future wifes family for 7 years). I have a lot smaller venue than my sister and couldn't invite people that I wanted to invite much less his parents. I had to tell her that I couldn't invite them and so she said she wasn't inviting my future wifes sister. My sister is manipulative and evil.

      There is always 2 sides to every story but I can tell you my story is very accurate. My sister would tell a much different story but her timelines would be all mixed up, peoples words would be spun, and nothing would be her fault. I am not having my sister and her husband in my wedding but my future wife and I were in her wedding. I thought that my sister was having me and my future wife in her wedding cause she wanted me in there and wanted my future wife in there cause she liked her as a friend. The truth is that she only did it cause she wanted her husband in my wedding. My sister was asked to be in my wedding and her response was only if her husband was too (I hardly know this guy and I am only having my closest 3 friends in the wedding). Regretable I asked him to be in the wedding only to have to decide against it later after my wifes sister was not allowed to attend their wedding. I am done trying to make everyone happy in my family. Sometimes I have dark thoughts but i know I don't deserve this manipulative behavior from my family.

      I really just want nothing to do with my mom and sister but cutting family out of your life is really hard. Especially when you know all of the same people and they love to talk shit about you and your future wife.

      I guess this rant is over. If you have any suggestions please feel free to share. Also, don't judge people you don't know and always know that the other side of the story may be the real story when someone is talking crap.

    • profile image

      Raj 3 months ago

      This accurately describes the relationship and challenges with my mother. Problem is, I am the only child, she is dependant on me and lives with me full time. I have a successful, stressful career and the constant arguing with her is impacting my ability to be sane. There is NO happiness in my life. No relationships either. Just work and my home life centered around my mother and the constant every day, multiple times a day fights. Any suggestions for me?

    • profile image

      Clem 3 months ago

      My wife is codependent with her mother or vice versa. My wife since we have been married for over 10 years has phoned her mum every day. If not that 3 times a day. She seems to tell her everything. My relationship with Mother in law aint that good as to me she is an old bag. Lives on her own and has no pets. Always complaining about the neighbors or how cold her house is. Or she has no money. Yet frequently travels overseas. She seems to want to know everyone's business. Is overweight and wont do anything about it. I may sound mean but really does her daughter need her that much in her life or is there something drastically wrong here.

    • profile image

      LoriXc 4 months ago

      Great article, I'm pretty confident I have a codependent female parent...

    • profile image

      codependent parents 4 months ago

      I was born with social limitations. Not quite autism, just introverted and a mild learning disability but socially aware. My mother ignored the bullying issue at a younger age and instead added to it by trying to get me involved in activities I had no interest in, even showing up as a chaperone and making things worse. When the bullying got worse, I wasn't pulled out. Keep in mind I was struggling academically too. I was told to wait for college and that things would get better and I'd have the last laugh.

      Neither me or my brother were allowed to leave the house as teens and 20s and were punished for things like getting stuck in traffic after going to the supermarket. Wanted us to have the skillset of extroverts, in particular having the independence and having a job, without realizing the irony of the situation.

      Would have had problems making friends and going on dates anyway, but knew that it wasn't worth trying and that I wouldn't be allowed to leave the house or have anyone over the house.

      My mom spend the last 10 or 15 of my life bringing me to therapists, telling them my "story" as if she was living vicariously through it, unaware that her actions made things a lot worse. Ended up spending that time as a part of the mental health system and overdiagnosed and overmedicated for what amounts to being harmlessly shy and PTSD from the unaddressed bullying.

      Dad is emotionally dismissive and verbally abusive. His parents were sick/died when he was younger so he didn't have any positive influences. Makes me wonder why they even had kids.

      People over the years, both online and real life friends, dropped hints about codependency, which I either dismissed or just thought that it didn't matter because I didn't have the skills or money to survive on my own.

      Am on disability, mostly for the insurance and to see a doctor if I needed to, but can't help but think that they've been using the money as a form of rent. I was never declared incompetent, but haevn't seen any of my own paperwork and whenever I've brought it up over the years, was just dismissed.

      Both parents lack self awareness, so when I read this article, it made perfect sense.

      I think my mom is well intentioned and my dad just likes the control and authority.

      I've talked about these issues in therapy over the years but have been unable to find a social worker to help with the situation. Since I don't drive, it requires being in the car with someone in the family, which kind of defeats the purpose.

      Anyway, I'm glad I found this article.

    • profile image

      Megan 4 months ago

      My fiancé just broke up with me a month before the wedding because I am "dramatic" and "he is my only happiness". This is complete BS I actually have a ton of friends and a wonderful supportive family. My "guilt" is I have disagreed with his mom about control. His parents have interfered with everything and are constantly manipulating him. They didn't like the invitations I had so forced us to get different ones, they didn't want me to have a shower, they refused to come to the shower I had. I love him more than life but he has let them ruin us and I am worried he will never find someone. Our relationship has been so beautiful and the toxic relationship with the parents is unsettling. If you think that this is something you are experiencing please go see a councilor and get your self out before you get heart broken. I am so hurt and so humiliated.

    • profile image

      Smith568 5 months ago

      I also have a stepson who is in a codependent relationship with his mother. Any time he has a problem, she steps in to address it (she has switched his classroom teacher twice midway through the year, both times over fights with the teacher who would not accept late homework that she brought in for her son), thereby establishing her control over him. Whenever she is angry with my husband, she tells her son about it and soon he is also angry at my husband. For example, my husband was recently going to attend the school science fair and wanted to pick the child up to attend with him. This child had already gone to the science fair earlier with his mother, but my husband had to go later due to his work schedule. The child's mother first accused my husband of forgetting the science fair and trying to blame her for that, then told him that she wasn't going to rearrange her schedule for him (the kids were at home playing video games and she knew the science fair was happening). When my husband said that was fine, he'd go alone, she then told him the kids could go (she didn't want him to tell the kids he had to go alone because she wouldn't let them go with him), but he was an unreasonable jerk. As soon as my husband finished this conversation with his ex wife where she told him he was a terrible person for wanting to attend the school event with his child, my husband gets an angry phone call from his son saying "dad, why are you picking me up?" When my husband said "because I'm going to the science fair and I want you to show me your project," the child replied "I don't want to go to the science fair with you." We had something similar happened with a ski trip we had planned on our weekend. After the ski trip was planned, the child's mother found some other activity that she thought the child should do and wanted us to reschedule our ski trip. At first, this kid wanted to still go on the ski trip, then he called later to say, he was going to do the other activity. His brother told my husband that their mother had been pressuring them to do the other activity, even though she planned it after the ski trip and even though the ski trip was on our weekend, not hers. She then told my husband that the child in question doesn't like skiing, so of course, he didn't want to go. Two weeks after that, this same child was asking us when we were going to go skiing again because he wanted to go.

    • profile image

      Kee 5 months ago

      My mother in law is co dependent on my husband. He want him

      all by herself and now me and my husband are living separately. What do I do?

    • profile image

      Kathleen 5 months ago

      My mother is codependent on me! We lost my father 10 years ago and since then she has relied on me to do everything for her even though I have 2 brothers. She says I have better sense than them.

      I'm newly married and she wants me all to herself she gets upset when I challenge her and tell her no I'm not going to do something. She makes me feel guilty. How can I get away from this other than ignore her?

    • profile image

      Tece 5 months ago

      I am actually a step mom of a 7 year old son who biological mom controls and makes him dependent upon her. He is currently spending 2 weeks at his Dad's during the summer. He cries often that he wants him mom and explains how he picks at his leg because he is not able to rub his mom's neck. She is still sleeping with the child. She will not allow him to bathe himself or learn basic hygiene, she does it for him. She only allows him to eat certain foods. Oatmeal-which this was all he ate until 2 years ago. Since then he now eats Cheese Pizza/Nuggets/meatless spaghetti/One kind of cereal/2 kinds of chips/m&m's/fruit snacks. If it don't look what she makes he wont eat it and regurgitates. She speaks ill of his dad, in an attempt to turn him against his dad. I can only imagine what she tells the child where I am concerned as a step parent. I'm just looking for suggestions who I can reach out to, to help the child grow into a Independent Adult who knows all his family loves him. She has requested from the courts to move out of state with the child. Telling the dad she will remove the child support if he allows such - he declined. She does not work, after inheriting money from her deceased dad.

    • profile image

      Kathleen 5 months ago

      Are there any books that are specifically about the mother-son codependent relationship?

    • profile image

      crash311 5 months ago

      I believe my mother is codependent with my brother. My brother has lived with my mom for years and shows no signs of getting a job or wanting to stand on his own two feet. He is now 28 and I'm 36 by the way. She works at home so she rarely goes anywhere and has no close friends or significant other. She relies on him to do the household maintenance and for emotional support. She's gotten deeply upset the few times he's tried to move out which usually lasts a week due to some fight they've had. They always hang out togther and smoke weed constantly. Now I lost my job and needed to move in temporarily while I worked to get back on my feet. The moment I moved in it was clear that although I was working hard to regain my independence, I was a burden and made to feel unwelcome. It didn't matter that I contributed money toward bills or that I found a teaching position a month after I moved in. I was told that I turned her life upside down and that I've taken over the house, both of which are untrue. How can it be true when I leave at 6:30 and I don't come back until 8:30? At the same time she allows my brother to do as he pleases including driving her truck drunk with no license. I have to get permission to watch the TV. They will go fishing or do other activities without thinking to ask me, but if I was to suggest we do something without my brother (which I would never do) she wouldn't think of it. She is very defensive of him and obviously favors him. He's always right and I'm always to blame. When I bring this up they both think I'm full of it. I hate that that 1.I'm stuck in this situation and 2.I'm allowing it to upset me this much. I'm two weeks away from moving into my new place so this nightmare won't last forever but the blatant favoritism has really damaged my relationship with both my brother and mother.

    • profile image

      Ck 5 months ago

      1. She is always the victim. Had a very bad marriage, daddy was a violent alcoholic....she divorced him 25 years ago and we still have to hear about how bad daddy was. We (the kids) acknowledges that he was terrible, no argument, mom repeats the same stories over and over trying to get pity. None of us can stay in the room. At which time she either gets mad or sulks away like no one loves her. We just want her to get over it and quit living to tell the story. Now she judges our children, not by actually trying to understand them and see them for young and still needing to learn things, but she judges them on how they treat her as to what she would like them to be like. Just this evening she said she did not wayang to ever see my sisters kids again, because they make her sad and do not talk to her right or listen to her. She doesn't listen to them, she does not even know them. My mother hates my dog, my niece was giving attention to the dog, so mom said if you are going to play with that dog I am going to my room. My niece is 10 years old!

      It is like everything that comes from her mouth we must think are golden words of wisdom. If our in our lives we have learn something more about the topic, well we are wrong and confused. Then she jumps into a story about how bad daddy was....over and over.

      This woman is an avid coffee drinker, but when I am around she acts like she has forgot how to make coffee. She says out loud what she is going to do, such as feed the dog or check the mail, as if she is really asking you to go do it for her. She is impossible. She is so negative, even talks about people that have already died, such as her sister in law stealing her red shoes....oh, please pray for me. She is 73 and now needs care, but having to live around her is wearing me thin!

    • profile image

      Jade3 5 months ago

      How does a parent protect their kids from their codependent grandparent?

    • profile image

      David G 5 months ago

      I have to agree with others who have said that you are not describing codependency. What you describe is more in line with a cluster-b personality disorder. It's an important distinction.

    • profile image

      Agreed 6 months ago

      I grew up where factors like the ones stated in this article were commonplace... This explains my past situation to well.

    • profile image

      Rubbish 6 months ago

      Can U tell me how old you R. and how many kids you've had to tell us your qualification on bringing up children. I only see that you have been around for 4 years?????

      Very concerned on your information being all this and that you are confusing the issue on relationship between parents, kids and adults.

    • profile image

      Lala 6 months ago

      I'm sure I have a co dependent parent. I have siblings but her behavior shows more with me. Why I don't know. I've severed ties before and will again more permanently. I don't see improvement or therapy. She is of African heritage, where they sternly agree with such remedy.

    • profile image

      Nikky 6 months ago

      I never realized this about my father until i just read this article. I have always known my mother (and step father)was codependent, she is an alcoholic and he just is because of her, but i was raised with the notion that my real father was never wrong. An installation in my mind that he put there since i was a kid. I was always wrong and no matter what reasoning i used i was still wrong. I am an adult now. Every night i wonder if i am the insane one and who i am. Its driving me insane. I have a total devotion toward my dad (nothing weird) and i woud do anything for him. Including drive myself insane thinking that i am the one who is thinking wrongly. I have all my facts straight and try to reason with him and he gives me off the wall reasons why i am wrong, or it didn't happen the way i say it did, or my opinion and views are all wrong. And i don't have a normal parent to compare any of this to. Its shattering me. I don't even know who i am or what i believe because im still trying to be and do what my parents believe and think i should be doing. I don't even know what i want out of life. This is so hard to figure out. Wtf am i supposed to do with this??? 3 messed up parents and no friends or positive NORMAL people to compare myself to or help me cope.

      My dad also uses his relationship with God and how forgiving God is to justify his actions... which confuses the living shit out of me.

    • profile image

      Jen 6 months ago

      I am 35 with my 12 year old son,struggling with life. I had two bad marriages and keep going back to my controlling parents. My son is dealing with it and I do not know how to get out. I care for my grandma because no one else will. I get paid low amount to cook clean serve and get yelled at everyday for something that goes wrong.

    • profile image

      Josh 6 months ago

      This is spooky how dead on it is for my mother. She is the only person in my life I have every lost my temper with, and she loves it. She loves getting me to the point that I am unable to function, she does everything she can to make me the bad guy no matter what the situation is, she is extremely manipulative and has road blocked me so many times in life. Just typing this is making me emotional, she has done so much damage and caused me so much stress with her abuse. I'm so tired of her constant guilt trips, and pity parties. She has made me feel worthless my entire life. I am thirty one years old, and to this day she has never listened to a word I have said.

    • profile image

      Brina 7 months ago

      This sounds the same as Narcissistic parents.

    • profile image

      Ihatemalife 7 months ago

      Good article.

    • profile image

      Nico 7 months ago

      This will help me a lot, I'd like to thank the person who made this article

    • profile image

      Jackie 7 months ago

      It would be interesting to see what is the role of the other parent. Like in my case, I think my father was a very normal person to begin with. But he truly loved my mom and we were 3 siblings. He was well aware of her strange codependant ways. In the early years to tried to correct her but soon gave up. What was scary is that soon he joined her and they were a team. She always had the reins in her hand and it was as if because my dad could not do anything else, he joined the game with her.

      But what happens in other cases. Does the other parent support the child?

    • profile image

      Nana 8 months ago

      My m.I.l is a so called Christian. She will blow up my phone on a daily basis or even my husband's phone. There isn't a day she doesn't call. There are times that she calls at 6am just to say she is in victory. A few months ago she came to visit and she stayed with us for about 3 weeks. In those 3 weeks she went to church with us and after church the congregation was saying hi to each other and an elderly brother from church asked if she was my Mom because I called her mom but I said no she is my m.I.l just call her mom sometimes so I said to him to come with me to introduce him to her so he did. And he said to her hello sister nice to meet you God bless you. That's all he said. When she went back home she called my husband a week later and said that she had a dream that the man from church was going to be her next husband. She was so serious about it that she wanted my husband to call him and ask him personal information about himself. She even offered to clean his house, that's crazy considering that she doesn't even know him. I told my husband that since he is the oldest of 5 boys he has the responsibility to have an intervention with her and explain why and how her behavior is unacceptable. This man from church has numerous times said that he does not want to be with anyone because he loves where his life is now serving God. I think that we all including my m.I.l should respect that and leave it alone. When I took her to the airport she said that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks because she will be back and the way that she left with the same mentality of wanting to changing this man's life is the same way she will be back to carry out her plan with the help of her son. She says it's the Christian thing to do.

    • profile image

      dakitt 8 months ago

      My girlfriend found this website after having a very difficult dinner with my mother where she basically verbally attacked us both in front of everyone on a busy sunday, it was meant to be a nice day out for all of us but turned into a nightmare basically i have had to cut contact with my mum, upon finding this website i've realised what a roblem this has caused all my life as i suffer with anxiety and depression, but that this has eased since i have broken contact. The problem now is that i have a sister who exhibits the same traits towards me, leaving me feeling that i'm a bad person and that i did the wrong thing... difficult to explain but felt i needed to put something down on screen as i see many of you have a similar issue any one know of a support group or forum in the UK that could help.

    • profile image

      Two codependent parents 8 months ago

      I have a co dependent mother and father also when I got older I realized later my father is an alcoholic I thought it was normal for him to come home from work ignore my brother and I because he was having a "bad day" at work. He drank every weekend sometimes two full bottles of red wine. I didn't even realized that this codependent parent thing is still affecting my life today. I moved at at the age of 21 with my long time boyfriend of 4 years, we moved out of state and I even asked for my parents blessing and it was okay. In 2015 we finally moved to Colorado from Florida when I moved I had a good job pay well my boyfriend and I were looking into homes we loved the state so much. Ever since I told my parents I can even afford a home and that I may get this really good job but I needed past information personal documents, graduation diploma anything and everything that I needed to continue and move forward with the backround for the job I lost since my parents didn't believe and emailed the company saying they weren't going to release my information. I have delt with my codependent parents for so long I don't know how to claim my own self and I'm 24 years old. It comes to a point where they cross the line so many times how can I deal with master manipulation and get my life back because all I want is my life back

    • profile image

      Mark edwards 8 months ago

      My mom has bpd won't admit it is so selfish and up her own arse developed it from my grandad giving me traits also of her crazy emotional outbursts she has no emotional regulation just blows up becomes verbal and rageful

    • profile image

      This is my parents 9 months 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 9 months 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.

    • profile image

      9 months 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.

    • profile image

      Dokie 9 months 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!

    • profile image

      guest 10 months 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 . . .

    • profile image

      another guest 10 months 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.

    • profile image

      guest 10 months 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.

    • profile image

      Louise Larsen 11 months ago

      Wow. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Kimmyb1 12 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 12 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 13 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

      Kalamari 13 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

      lanablackmoor 14 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!

    • profile image

      Nedalee 14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      TM 14 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.

    • profile image

      Nedalee 14 months ago

      Thank you, Anna. I love reading this.

    • Janie Laviolette profile image

      Janie Laviolette 14 months ago

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

      So clear, thank you so much!

    • lanablackmoor profile image

      lanablackmoor 15 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 15 months ago

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

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 15 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 15 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

      Ariesoul 15 months ago

      @#maggiemayI am 39 and just realizing

    • profile image

      MaggieMay 15 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

      lanablackmoor 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 months ago from Hallandale beach, Florida

      Nicely written. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

    • lanablackmoor profile image

      lanablackmoor 17 months ago from New England

      Thank you for reading, KeikoArtz!

    • lanablackmoor profile image

      lanablackmoor 17 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 19 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

      McKenna Meyers 19 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.

    • profile image

      KeikoArtz 19 months ago

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

    • roob profile image

      Ruby 20 months ago from United States

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

    • profile image

      Natasha 20 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 22 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 22 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 23 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 2 years 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 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Helen 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      younex 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Mar 2 years 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!

    • profile image

      MMM 2 years 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 2 years ago from Brookings, SD

      Wow, nailed it!

    • profile image

      Carol L 2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Michael 2 years ago

      this sounds like both my mother and fiancée. Scary!

    • profile image

      newsy214 2 years ago

      I'm sorry, Angelica.

    • profile image

      Angelica 2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Jo 2 years ago

      This is my mother 100% if not more!

    • profile image

      Vladimir 2 years 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.