Lanablackmoor has a degree in Psychology and personal experience with the topic.
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:
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.
How to Navigate the Holidays With a Codependent Parent
- Getting Through the Holidays with a Codependent or Narcissistic Parent
Emotional abuse is always difficult, but it is especially hard to spend the holidays with a codependent or narcissistic parent.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Your Two Cents
Anon on August 21, 2020:
My mother is definitely this. I severe ties completely, then, she turns up out of the blue... And everthing goes back to how it was. I feel trapped. I will never get away from her. I feel like death is easier because she's so emotionally abusive and it hurts me to the core. It's soul destroying. She's supposed to be my mum, however, she never has been, it's as if she's the child and I'm the mother. I can't do this anymore. No one can relate to me, at least no one I know. And I feel like a fool but, if I severe ties again.. She won't get it. Everything is my fault. She is incapable of taking responsibility. It feels like I'm alive just for her. I'm alive for her, not myself. She makes me feel like a worthless piece of shit
Michael Kenny on August 08, 2020:
life to me was like a full thick fog in the wilderness, having the clutches of my mother having full control and getting very nasty about it. only tonight my mother wanting to know where my youngest brother of 30, who wanting a weekend with his girlfriend and believing he should be there with her, attending to her every need with me and other siblings. both my parents are elderly and told her we have to move on in life but believing they have to come first, not us not having any say what we do in life. there is so much conflict and hurt from my mother and whatever she has done is beyond disrepair resulting in huge resentment and bitterness, one thing I lacked from my mother is love and attention and to try to get that love somewhere has made me into a lost soul. my life is ruined with the rest of my eldest siblings, there is no case on what they have done but still there is physical abuse and the courts put that down as punishment. all my life I be trying to explain to my mother about the wrongs she has conflicted onto us but believing she has showing no wrongs on her behalf, my self esteem and confidence has always been low and now the rug has finally been pulled from underneath her, her control and overbearing manner is starting to wane off when my brother will be leaving to move home next month, my sister afterwards and myself, her option will be the hard way ( never see any of us again) or the easy way (supporting them but showing their respect on us when we get on with life) I can't see my mother letting go and leading to the hard way, but I know she will turn bitter and nasty at the end and we all have to pray for her if she will ever find it in her heart because she goes.
Kat on April 06, 2020:
My mother and I are close. She is my best friend and she lives with my boyfriend and I. We have been taking care of most finances since she has major health problems and doesn't work as much. She was a single mother of two in her early twenties. She kicked my father out when I was 2 because he was a criminal and addict. She came to America when she was 14 to escape the communist war in Vietnam. She was the youngest in a well off family and found out she was adopted at age 11. She has never really had a true friend or hasn't dated since I can remember. Her stories of her life have mostly revolved around trauma/hardships she has endured. She is naturally pessimistic, and does not trust people. She is very judgmental of others and vocal about it. She can be difficult and demanding to deal with. I know for a fact that she is a codependent mother, I've known since I was a teen that the relationship my mother and I have is far from normal- Not abusive but not normal... I have always felt a sense of guilt & resentment because she chose to be alone, guarded, playing the victim mentality... Some of the most trying and difficult times in my life she has added to the stress of it. Don't get me wrong she is a good mother, she tried the best she could. I respect and cherish her, but as I grow older I realize I have work of my own to do. I cannot continue to expect her to change. I can only be responsible for my own emotional intelligence and protect it by creating boundaries and not allowing her to affect me by doing the work I need to make myself happier and set goals that I desire. We've had many ups in downs in our family like all others, but the older I get the more I start to focus on my desires and what I want.-not because it's what my mother expects or demands. I think it's possible to cut the apron strings even if you aren't the one wearing it...I can still have her in my life just on my terms.
Grace on March 30, 2020:
Change the word 'co-dependent' to 'cluster B' (as in the diagnostic statistical manual - DSM of personality disorders) and you have it exactly correct! My BPD (Borderline Personality Disordered) mother and NPD/BPD (Narcissistic and Borderline) father-in-law both EXACTLY fit ALL of these points. Lastly, I disagree with the statement that "they manipulate because they have to" as that reinforces that they are victims. We all have choices and accept the consequences of those choices. I recommend going 'no contact' as they refuse change and you cannot change them. Save your own life and let go! They already made their choice and you do not have to live with it!!
Anonymous on January 27, 2020:
I'm dealing with a mother who's codependent behavior borderlines tyranny and psychopathy who threw me out of the house just for calling her out on her victim complex, is a compulsive liar when it comes to money, throws my father who is completely independent and divorced from her and will only let me back in if I agree to a list of terms that are complete BS in my eyes. I am my own man not her slave
Dyingperson on January 01, 2020:
I am also struggling with a codependent mother.
My dad does absolutely nothing. I told my parents that an old guy asked for my number and I had a hard time saying no and he keeps texting. My mother told me to reply saying not to text me and my father sat and said nothing. I feel like my dad doesn’t do his role as a father and so all the burden for parenting has been on my mother which probably results in codependency. My father is absolutely out of the picture, there is no dependency whatsoever other than financial support of which everyone needs to bow down to him for what an amazing “chairman” and achieved person he is. My mom doesn’t get the credit I dont think which is some part what she wanted I think.
My sister is also under the spell when I truly think she should stop trying to please my mother and marry someone she really loves. But being with my mother, he spell is so strong it will take a miracle to let go of that. I recently had a relationship with a guy whose parents were gone I think and he kept saying things like its such a blessing to be able to be with family while abstaining from telling me any information on his parents. I thought you really think its a good thing that your parents keep your wings bound so you cant fly? I mean goodness gracious, that is not the case. He also had toxic friends who leach onto him and does disloyal things behind his back like hitting on me constantly. I dont know what to do with my parents since I fear them killing me the instant I try to become my own person and make my own decisions.
anonymous on December 23, 2019:
My dad told my mom to shut up. I defended her, she got mad at me. It's not like he said "Can you please be quiet?" He sounded angry. Then my brother wanted to show him a movie he took out and asked him if he'd seen it, he goes "No!" without even looking at it. I have words with him and I'm called the abuser. He also called me a girly man or something to that effect. I notice that he probably doesn't think of me or my brother as typical men, but he's the one talkign to his wife like that.
I have health issues and don't know anyone in the area. Also really quiet and prefer not to socialize. He retired earlier this year. Normally I'd just wait for him to go back to work.
So I said I was leaving and my mom said she'd lock the door. I told her as someone on disability I have rights. She says "If he calls disability, it could actually work to our advantage." Keep in mind she was the one crying all these years when I showed any signs of moving out. I think now it seems like he's taken precedence over me. If I actually left, then she wouldn't have her narcissistic supply, but now it seems like she wants me out.
I ended up having to call my therapist just a few hours after our appointment. He gave me a few minutes because he knew the situation I'm in. I had no idea he was in an appointment otherwise I would've told him to call me back.
Then I ended up calling my doctor, who I forgot doesn't work on Mondays and also has the week off. The nurse was nice enough to talk to me and let me know that if my parents called the cops, they couldn't do anything since I didn't hit him. She gave me the number to a crisis center, who said the same things. Both of them told me that I should stay out of it if my dad says anything, because if my mom isn't offended, I shouldn't be. The woman at the crisis center, when I told her some of the things he's said over the years, wasn't disagreeing that it was a problem, just that the victim or the person standing up for the victim will be labeled the abuser.
I got a text from my mom for a disability advocate. I told her not to text me again. She sent me another text, I told her I knew the website, and if she texted me again, I'd block her, which I did anyway.
The thing with narcissistic parents and codependent parents, is that they want to paint you as the abuser. I noticed my mom also thinks that she's the one who's been going through everything over the years. Like I'm not the person living my life. Bullied just for being ugly and looking my dad basically. It's not spoken, but I feel like both of them feel like they're doing me a favor by providing a home, that they would never let me escape from.
I made a post a few months ago about taking off by foot, and them looking to find me an hour later and calling the police. They basically just want me to live here, and be obedient and oblivious.
sheddy mason on November 11, 2019:
this is not codependency this defines Narcissism
Teresa on November 11, 2019:
First of all, I want to say much love to all the people who have posted!
For me, I only fully realized that I had experienced neglect and abuse once I reached adulthood. I thought everything about my childhood was normal. I would see other kids' parents and wonder sometimes though. It was only once I became a teacher that I began to see my students' parents and attend required trainings on identifying and reporting child abuse, that I realized that I too was abused.
I realized that there was nothing wrong with me, but that I had experienced abuse (verbal, emotional, neglect, etc.) as a child. By the way, I agree that minimizing contact with abusive parents is ideal.
Anyway, for some time, I really struggled with what to do with all of these feelings (e.g. anger, and resentment).
I decided with God's help, to turn my experience into good for others. As a teacher, I try to be the best "teacher mom" I can. I try to build up my students confidence, help them feel good about themselves, teach them healthy life skills (e.g. having a routine, planning ahead,etc.), and helping them to feel cared for. I highly recommend this to everyone. It is good for others and it helps you to heal.
By the way, a bible verse that has helped me to work towards moving on with my life is: "So the LORD answers, 'Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.'"
Grace on November 03, 2019:
What is termed "co-dependent" is really Borderline Personality Disorder as found in recently published research. The reason a parent does this to a child is because they don't want their child to grow up, become independent, and leave them. They fear abandonment in addition to selfishness and immaturity about being an adult and taking their own responsibility.
And how can a child be 'co-dependent' anyway when by definition it means that one is dependent. That is what a child is - a dependent. It carries over into adulthood with very carefully constructed measures of control (i.e., brainwash, sabotage of goals for career/independence, financial manipulation) paired with the fact that most people who experience abuse have no idea that they are abused. (How would you know the difference if all you ever experienced were abusive family relationships? That would be your 'normal.') Then adult children blame themselves and erroneously believe that something is wrong with them. It's very difficult to get out but it's the only way and borderlines don't take 'no' (i.e., a boundary) for an answer so 'no contact' is the only healthy way. I speak from experience!
Badlands Babe on October 25, 2019:
I no longer worry about it. I went no contact 11 years ago. The best decision I've ever made. The dance doesn't stop until someone quits & steps away. The parent isn't going to quit. They refuse to even acknowlege what their doing is toxic.
To Geealdine Gomez... You're correct. There is nothing wrong with wanting your child to do better than you did it's in the way you as a parent go about it. Being a codependent parent is not the way. I'm a 54 year old woman who graduated high school & moved out of my parents dysfunctional & abusive home when I was 17 & have never returned. I have never asked, wanted or expected anything from my parents & have never gotten anything from them. I was made to feel guilty enough for even being born & having a roof over my head. No my story isn't one of a loving & caring family. I've worked my entire life for everything I have. I have made plenty of bad choices & mistakes in my life but they were just that, my choices from which I learned. So, I have no use for the people who didn't want, value, support or love me when they had that opportunity to think I have any use NOW or EVER for any of their ugly & negative input in my life. I'm a GOOD person with a loving, giving, supportive, beautiful heart. Who NEVER deserved ALL the bullshit I've been given, I've endured & most importantly I've over come.
It's their loss.
Geealdine Gomez on September 24, 2019:
I don't see anything wrong with wanting your child to do better than you did.
Pollyanna on September 22, 2019:
I'm living with my codependent narcissistic mother and I'm 42 years old. Keep telling myself it's to save money quicker as property prices are so high in London but decided now enough is enough, moving out and going no contact once I've sorted out a new job. She has destroyed my self confidence so much I never married and thankfully no kids. I refuse to look after her in old age or go to her funeral, thinking about it made me almost hang myself this week. She's had 42 years of my life already but no more, she can rot!
anonymous on September 04, 2019:
I meant to say that the dispatcher was listening to me, but also being patient with me because she knew I was having anxiety. She wasn't taking me any more seriously than my mother, but she also saw how my mother was behaving.
I also wanted to comment on what other people have said about the article. To me it describes narcissistic parents, but codependent and narcissistic traits can also overlap.
anonymous on September 03, 2019:
I made a post earlier. I live with controlling parents because I have
other issues. I lived on my own for a couple months when I was younger and it's basically just trading one problem for another. If it isn't parents, it's other people you're answering to and then whatever problems you have.
I took off because my anxiety was high. This time it wasn't provoked by anything they did. I'd had something happen to me and felt they weren't listening to me, so I just started walking. They called the cops looking to find me, but this isn't the first time this has happened.
They found me and I told them to keep driving, and then found me again. I recognized the number of the police station in my mom's phone so I reached for the phone and threw it on the ground and the picked it up and gave it back to them. The dispatcher heard the scream and asked my mom if it was ok and she did say she was ok.
The cops found me and asked me to put my hands in the front of the car. I thought I was being arrested. I was able to explain the situation to them and they asked me if it was ok to go home with my parents. We get in the car and I asked my mom, what would happen if she called again, then she said "You'd go to the hospital."
I asked them to drive me to the police station, and was able to talk to the dispatcher. She told me that she was telling my mom that as a competent adult, if I want to go for a walk, there's nothing they can do unless I was missing for hours, then they can file a report. I'd been talking to her for a while, then my mom came in. I can tell that the dispatcher was just listening to me but also noticed my mom's behavior too.
We moved to a small town a few years ago and I've seen more cop cars than I'd ever care to. And been threatened, though not any time recently, to have the cops called over minor disagreements.
Codependent parents think they have ownership over you. I have to live with them because there isn't a better situation and I have other issues. Plus I'd just be dealing other people in an assisted living situation. But they literally think you're their possession. And they get frustrated for having to deal with you.
The dispatcher suggested group counselling and I explained to her that they lack self-awareness so there's no point.
I just don't appreciate seeing police when I'm not a criminal. Then my mom says she cares about me. They say they're fed up and would look into having me move out, but if it actually came to it, my mom would be lost if I didn't live with her because she wouldn't have anyone to control.
I'm not going to pretend like just moving out would solve anything or really anything at this point. I just wish I had a healthier relationship with them and that they were aware and weren't manipulative.
This world is tough without feeling like you can't trust your family. Honestly the idea of even having a really nice apartment but living alone knowing you can't even trust your parents, sickens me. I didn't know they were this bad.
Marcus on August 08, 2019:
Can a codependent parent be someone who is a flying monkey and an enabler of the abuse inflicted on a scapegoat by the other parent who has narcissistic personality disorder? I need to find out more because this is the closest description to my mother who ended up developing severe denial and dissociative disorder in response to the abuse I suffered from my narcissist father.
LMS on July 23, 2019:
The tendencies sound more likely borderline personality disorder rather than codependent.
anon on June 25, 2019:
Thanks for the recommendation and I'll be sure to read it. One of the first reviews on amazon is titled "If you weren't badly 'abused,' but still didn't feel like your family really embraced you, this is the book for you." And that sums it up for me and probably a lot of other people as well.
I'm disabled and have permanent health issues so I still live with them. It's why I don't like talking about it. I was just thinking out loud and brainstorming.
Townsend on June 25, 2019:
For Anon: try this book "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay Gibson
anon on June 24, 2019:
Has anyone ever had any luck finding someone to talk to about their parent(s) who isn't a mental health professional? Just someone you could talk to confidentially in person and trust that the information will be kept private and not in a sterile office environment or as a "patient"?
MelanieBohn on May 07, 2019:
oh Clarke- hahaha! you are so ironic. I guess you believe that the human race should cease to exist then?
This is where atheism gets you folks (10 to 1 he is an atheist).. the belief that we are only here for temporal pleasures. (material goods, sex, food). if that's the case then everything is really meaningless and we really shouldn't exist at all.
I'm so glad I don't live in your head. I'm so glad I have children to love and to love me. I'm glad for this messy life. I pray you can find some meaning in this life sometime.
Monica on May 05, 2019:
I'm concerned that my fiance is in a codependent relationship with his mother. Any tips for broaching the subject?
Clarke on May 03, 2019:
This is why I'm never having my own children. No human being deserves to go through the hell of having a parent.
Mia on March 29, 2019:
All of my grandparents were mentally ill. All of my aunts and uncles are mentally ill. Both of my parents were mentally ill. I am mentally ill but I'm trying so hard. Validation has been the key to developing enough self esteem to identify my maladaptive coping strategies and I'm finally starting to undo them. Pete Walker's books are really great. Thank you everyone for commenting! I don't feel so alone when I see so many other people going through the same things.
Neil on March 27, 2019:
I’m 46. I’ve started therapy and anti depressants as a result mainly of a condpenedent parent.... it is my dad.
Because I’ve worked all over the world I’ve not noticed it so things have been cool. Now I’m back “home” and he live around the corner from me. I lov ehim but he’s not good for me. He doesn’t listen, he manipulates me and he tries to create doubt in my mind about everything from choosing a blind to put in my house to who my girlfriend should be,
After several sessions with a psychotherapist and starting zoloft three weeks ago I have put up some boundaries to protect myself otherwise he will take over completely. He always thinks he’s right and if you deviate from his way you’re shit. Why should I spend all my time with a person who makes me feel bad so now I see him once or twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes and have set up boundaries wrt conversational contents... so it’s less contentious.why should I see someone who make me unhappy and was crying every day. I felt like I didn’t know who I was. Slowly but surely things are improving for me.
I’m not going to be manipulated anymore.
anon on March 27, 2019:
I can relate. Maybe not as drastically as some of these folks have replied with awful stories of their codependent parents. My mother and I have always been very close. She and my dad had me at 18 years old, so I imagine it was a very challenging start. They grew up with little parenting and direction, and therefore have tried to give my three sisters and I their all, which I am forever indebted to them. I respect them and love them immensely regardless of the turmoil we face. I just wish I had some ounce of clarity from an outside source. Especially when it comes to my mom, she really has always had some hold over me, passively guilting me for doing things such as trips/ music festivals, etc with my friends or whomever I choose. Guilting me for not coming to visit home enough. We live 3 hrs apart. I see them at least once a month, which I feel is pretty good. I mean for godsakes, I could be living in NYC completely unattached and away. But I'm not. I choose to be here because I love it.
Like today is my birthday, and my family facetimed me for a few minutes. All to force me into tears. On my birthday, yep. They are guilting me so hard about them not coming to see me on my 21st bday. Just because we have always been together on our birthdays. They have always made them so special. But now that I have a boyfriend, who too, does so much for me and wants to make my day so special, they feel "uninvited" they were yelling at me, telling me my boyfriend didn't have the decency to reach out to them and coordinate something. They're grown ass adults. What was he supposed to do??!! I never even said that they shouldn't come, more so just informing that my friends would be taking me out tonight. I mean come on! its my fucking 21st bday. THey just don't give me the trust and freedom like they think they do. I rarely feel like they are happy for me. Or as proud as they should be for me. I am so conscious of them in all decisions I make. I just want to make them proud so dam bad. But feel like I can never do anything right. And now they antagonize my love and on my special day of all days. I feel heartbroken. I don't know how to handle them. I just wish I could let go of this fucking hold they have over me.
Nickson on March 23, 2019:
Geeeez. This is seriously all I think about at this point in my life. I’m seriously struggling as a newly engaged 23 y/o. I don’t know how to say no or if I am even supposed to say no. I’m always debating whether I want wrong, whether or not I’m honoring my parents the right way. I’m seriously so confused and upset.
Colin S. Goodyear on March 14, 2019:
I had parents who were so co-dependent that they couldn't function alone.
Lena on February 07, 2019:
WOW Sydney, that is exactly what I am feeling. I remember reading the book from Melodie Beattie - codependent no more nearly 15 years ago and I still to this point is the first time, that I feel I slowly getting out of my codependent mother situation in setting boundaries. She always thinks she has done everything right, to a degree where its impossible to just say that I am not feeling well that's all and that it has nothing to do with her. I remember moving out of home and she said well great how should I survive when your dad pays you now your child support? well I studied without any support , she was full time working and also wanted to keep my child support from my dad??? There were situations I didn't even have words for, that's how shocked I was. I feel I am an awesome person and always followed my heart and have become strong through all this, but one thing stays and that is the constant eggshell walk around other people, because as someone stated, I think it is above... It is such a roller coaster ride with such people that in the end you yourself have no idea what you feel.
Sydney on January 22, 2019:
I am happy to have come across this article today. Ive been feeling alone and unsure as to what I should do. I too like many other are struggling with my codependent Mother. Growing up my step dad was an alcoholic very physically and verbally abusive. But it was always aimed at my mother or myself. When he wasnt around she looked to me to be her "spouse" I took care of her and all my siblings. By age 13 I was raising her children becuase she was too tired or mentally exhausted and he was no where to be found. My mother was always the victim no matter what the situation. For example I needed surgery and it was all about how was she going to care for a sick teenager and how me getting sick was just so hard on her... she went crazy and was in a mental institution while I a 16 year old was left to work go to school and take care of my siblings becuase she had no back up plan and alienated us from any and all family becuase she was according to her the "black sheep" of the family. Fast forward to my 20's I move away to go to college which is a 3 hour drive away to get some distance and really to just not be under her manipulative thumb. Well it didn't last too long. 3 years to be exact and she was moving herself and my siblings to my current hometown. She has done nothing but try to ruin my marriage multiple times and is always trying to make me feel bad for living my life. If I don't live or act her way she throws tantrums so big that I would give in just to shut her up. See how i said I "would"give in well now I don't. In the past we have not talked for a year or 2 but when that happens she could careless becuase she has 3 other kids she can torture and they don't have the guts to stand up to her. Right now its been a year since I've talked to her and that is the best gift I could have given myself. But as good as it sounds she still haunts my dreams, takes up space in my mind constantly. I physically broke free but mentally she still has me in her grips. How do you get past the hurt the pain of it all? I feel bad, I always feel bad and I'm tired of it consuming my life! My heart is broken.
D.Fitz on January 20, 2019:
my wife was an only child and has developed strong co-dependency relationships with our three children who are now all adults. The oldest suffers from o.c.d. and anxiety, our middle daughter is my wife's "best gf" and they go on trips together and to see shows, when my wife who does not work, won't even go on vacations with me. Our daughter who is in her late 20's recently bought her own home in the fall but has not moved in yet. Our daughter, who is a shy but attractive woman with a professional job, has never been on a date. All of our three adult children have good professional jobs but I still have two living under my roof. My oldest had a little boy a couple years ago and my wife babysits during the week. Our home is now cluttered with toddler toys and furniture once again. My wife is an intelligent woman with a degree herself, but has never worked since she had our first son. I work a very stressful job to maintain our home in an expensive DC neighborhood and am now in my 60's. I do not see anyway out of this situation as she has never been open to going to counseling about it.
Natalie on January 09, 2019:
Yes I can most definitely relate. I have a codependent mother in law as well. It`s actually causing a lot of trouble for me and my husband and I am thinking of leaving him now. He does not come to my defense because he has learned and mastered walking on egg shells for her. I consider this mostly my husband`s fault as he has chosen to put his mother before me. When a man gets married the focuss should be on his significant other and not his mother. My mother in law needs to be put in her place but my husband wont do it. I have no choice but to leave for my own mental health. I hope you can find the strength to make things work and I hope that your husband can listen to your concerns. Good luck. I wish you all the best!
Isabel on January 09, 2019:
I have a codependent mother in law. I woke up out of the fog of manipulation because of a friend of hers. Im also showing her sons (my husband and brother in law) whats going on. She is described here to the t... She also has some traits of covert narcissism too so its hard to deal with. My brother in law is well aware of whats going on but doesnt take action and my husband is afraid of making her mad so he always pleases her. He is now noticing that she tried, through him, her manipulation tactics on me while putting my husband against me. Does it make sense?... We had a big fight because i put a boundary on her and she was hurt and he wanted an explanation for the she said I said bull that happened. Can anyone relate?
Kali Novic on January 05, 2019:
After reading this article and some of the comments, and many other articles on toxic parents, and codependent parents, and manipulating parents, and many "How to deal with..." or "How to get away from..." or "How to handle..." such and such parents, after years of therapy, and no success in improving my own relationship with my own parents and even though I am 33 years old with a son on the way and in an 11 year long relationship, I cannot help but wonder why it is that so many people go through this all over the world, so many people struggle with such dysfunctionality in their lives and drag the enormous weight of such bad parenting, and still I see no solutions, and I also see no articles that would educate these parents. Because as the article states so clearly, the main problem in all such child-parent problems is that the child's point of view never seems to get across to the parents. Parents from that generation are simply unaware of how detrimental their approach was to us. It seems to me, like all the articles I stumble upon, merely tell you as a child what you could do differently, and not so much what they could do differently. And to be honest it is becoming tiresome. I wish there was a way to let these people see the reality of what they have done. And just back off.
I find myself obsessively reading such material these days, because as I am about to become a mother myself, I feel that the time has come for me to break free from this burden and be clear headed as I raise my son. I don't want to have to raise my son, while I struggle to keep my parents at their place. As many women in my situation can probably confirm, as a grandson appears, grandparents tend to intrude even further into a child's life, and believe they are even more entitled to interfere and impose their way of thinking and their own personality. It would be an enormous endeavour to describe all the ways both my parents fit the descriptions of the above article, but as many of the people present here have stated, it really feels like a perfect description of my upbringing. I find myself more stressed than a pregnant woman should be, because I am afraid I will find it impossible to keep my stance in front of these people as the pregnancy progresses and as the child will come into this world.
Absolutely on December 21, 2018:
I work with my dad while slaving away to be a software developer. I work with him every step of the way, but there are some days I have to stay and study in order not to get behind. I tell him I only need part time hours he agrees and tries to suck me back in. I can do my job well and make enough to keep a roof over my head while I study. He tries to paint the picture that he is unable to do his job without my help, that he has done for 30 years, well before me being born. He is always the victim and always needing more. Give him an inch and he takes everything. Seems like I am helping him out rather than him helping me out.
Yes on November 23, 2018:
I’m positive my mom is codependent. I wish I could reach out to some of the posters on here and ask for advice.
The number one thing is it’s so subtle. I do believe my MOM truly thinks she’s a good mom and she does NOTHING wrong.
Lately here passive aggressive remarks are the worst. I have no idea how to set boundaries because she plays the victim. The only thing I can think of is straight up ignore her when she being negative to the point of it being uncomfortable and rude. There’s no point in telling her how I feel and talking to her because she’s acts innocent and nothing will change. Today I didn’t a lot of ignoring, but I literally have to pretend I can’t hear her because she doesn’t know when to shut up and she’s so negative. I’ve been brewing for hours about it.
Em.firstname.lastname@example.org on November 02, 2018:
Both of my parents are codependent. Please read this just so you know what not to do.
Anon on October 03, 2018:
well reading this makes me positive my mother is a codependent. i went no contact years ago but she "channels" my father to guilt me, etc.
for me, i have had to cut them out of my life completely. i wish better for any of you suffering. but i went through years of battling with them, trying to negotiate, reason and other wise explain. all met with defensiveness, guilt tripping and manipulation - basically a brick wall. don't get your hopes up but best of luck. there are many of us out there living with this... its hard and you'll have tough choices.
Dominique james36 on September 27, 2018:
Ughh, dont even know where to start... My mom comes from a mentally ill mother who was abusive &was taken from her mom by her dad who then left her with shady family members..so she was further abused &raped... My mom tries so hard not to be like her mom that she doesnt realize she acts just like her...my older sis did all she could to get away from this unhealthy relationship..she tried to establish herself as her own woman...but not without a fight,that went on for yearsss. So at age 13,we were moved to another state...we had been moved hundreds of miles away from family when i was just a baby(a move i later looked at as super selfish) You ever hear it takes a village to raise a child? Yeah well, i grew up wit no family but my mom..she took us away from everyone,didn't know my grandparents, my dad, my other siblings...just her &my big sister...now fastforward back to age 13...she decided 2 move back to where our family all lives..we move in with my mentally ill,drug addict grandma.. Mom kinda disappears, she's in "All about me" mode.. Now shes clubbing 4 nights a wk. Getting nails,lashes,hair done..buying herself new clothes...(none for us) She basically brought us around crackheads we've never known &now just gone all the time.. Pure selfishness..now I'm finally in my own place shes living with me! I'm 30yrs old &have NO privacy, she doesnt buy groceries...every time i cook shes there, every time i get ready to leave the house she wanna know where im going..she gets her money..does what she wants,&the few things she does do seems like she has to complain..how am i suppose to battle my own demons AND hers? She's not my responsibilty &its very irritating being that she needs me so much ...&when i needed her she left me alone... I was homeless as a teenager, now everything she couldn't provide for me as a CHILD, im expected too do for a 50yr old?!? Talk about unfair? I had NUTHIN given to me, why should she? Codependency is REAL &rarely talked about.... Codependant parents u are breaking your children down, it sucks.....you're suppose to sacrifice for your kids, not the other way around... We owe u nothing, we didn't ask to be here. How are we ever suppose to get our lives together constantly dealing with the issues from yours? Signed - A woman ready to live out her own purpose in life
Brandy on September 13, 2018:
I have a codependent mother that has always leaned on me. As a child I lived with my mom and my alcoholic father. My dad was verbally abusive to my brother and mother but so much to me. However, I was molested by my father. My mother found out about the molesting years after it ended but decided to do nothing about it. I was diagnosed with Manic Depressant Disorder at the age of 16 but always knew how to function despite the challenges I faced. My mother did nothing to help me through any of the challenges but always wanted me to be there for her emotionally. I remember the codependency being as bad as me being responsible for laying out clothes for her whenever there was something outside of work that she needed to do. She always depended on me to tell her what her next move was.
Fast forward to adulthood. I am 35 years old, married for 13 years and have 4 beautiful children (with one on the way.) My mother has lived with me several times and each time expected to not have to help out financially. I moved out of my home state about 5 years ago leaving my mother behind. Prior to moving my mother lived with me but was able to move in with a friend. Two years into my move my mother ask to move out of state with me to help with child care and give me an opportunity to get my business up and running. She agreed to get her won place within a year but she has now been living with us for 3 years. She has to be told to clean and help out and only help financially when asked. She only helps with care for my children when asked and never goes anywhere unless I go with her. I am struggling mentally at this point because I feel unappreciated and used, How do I get her to move out and live her own life? Every time that I try to talk to her she cries and plays the victim. I can't take this anymore.
Traci Mark on September 02, 2018:
My mother is a codependent parent who took advantage of me and ruined my life ad I know it.
Anon on July 19, 2018:
I had a codependent and mentally ill mother who committed suicide when I was 17. I struggled for decades with the same mental illnesses as my mother (anxiety and depression) But didn’t know how to get help. Finally I’ve been able to regain much of my mental health, but I am totally a codependent parent myself. I see my mother’s behavior in so much of myself it’s horrible.
My younger daughter suffers from anxiety and depression, I had to sell my house to pay tuition at a private school, spend down all my savings to support both girls in their same lifestyle after I finally divorced their father. I am trying so hard not to guilt them about what I’ve had to do, but the dynamic with their father / grandparents is so toxic. I am trying every day to turn away from the trauma of their emotional abuse, and be just a normal, happy, loving single parent... but it’s so hard.
My younger daughter suffers so much from anxiety and depression, and we are so enmeshed. It’s a nightmare of blaming each other for our feelings, while being totally dependent on each other :(:(:(. I want desperately to it to stop, but I don’t know how!
Laura Mekins on July 13, 2018:
Wow. This article is enlightening. @anonymous - You are not alone. Thanks for sharing.
Just a tidbit of information on me, my father was an alcoholic. Parents divorced when i was 11. Lived with my unbearable mother, naturally tried to "fix" her life but failed. Moved out when i was 14. And have been financially taking care of my mother since I was 17. Im 31. Im sick of it. I love my mother but i now understand, sometimes we just have bad parents. Bad family members. We don't have an estranged relationship now. But she's only 52. I want her to get a job and stop relying on my as her financial crutch. Is it too late to stop taking care of her? Sometimes, many times, i wish i had at least one real parent.
Anonymous on July 05, 2018:
I’m 17 and this article is very similar to the character of my mother. All my life I thought it was normal and other kids moms just didn’t care about their kids and were only part of society and it’s norms like my mom always said they were, but as I’ve gotten older and matured a bit I’ve realised that her behavior isn’t normal or healthy and since the realization it has driven a wedge between us in the sense that I’m not as easy to control anymore. I use to think that the reason she’s “upset” is because she’s been so hurt in life, abused by her own mother and then by my father. So I pitied her and did my best to always make her happy with everything I did and if I ever messed up I felt as though I’d failed her and failed at being a good daughter. Though she’d always tell me I was smart and bright and pretty, it was only ok to be so if it was how she liked it and any individuality was me being disrespectful, rebellious and unappreciative of all she’s done for me. She constantly reminds me that I owe her for being my mom and that my siblings and I are her only happiness. She’s basically disowned my older brother sense he has started his own life the way he wanted and is living by his own rules and doing things without talking to her about them first, although she still loves him and calls and texts him all the time she says there’s no hope for him and that my younger siblings and I can be so much better. Which upsets me because I look up to my older brother, he’s so very happy now and just got a new job which he’s proud of.
If I’m ever in a low mood or haven’t had a good day I’m the type of person you can tell just by looking at my face or the way I talk; so if I act differently or “not my true happy self” all the time is disrespectful and me not caring for her feelings. This makes me angry with myself for not being better.
When it comes to descions she’ll either let me go and do something but be negative about it and make me feel bad about it afterwards or she’ll lists reasons as to why it would be bad to want to do it. Like for example I visited a childhood friend for their bday this past weekend who lives 2 hrs away in the same city as my older brother. She was reluctant to let me go and on the day we left, while we were in the car she asked if I had done my schooling for the day (I do dvd homeschool and made up the lesson when I got back) I hadn’t done school because I didn’t have time, I had woken up at 11 did my chores, cleaned, packed and still had to take a shower which made us 30 mins late because I lost track of time. We had to meet my brother halfway due to gas cost at 3:30. She works late nights and doesn’t get enough sleep throughout the day so she was drowsy and tired and when she tired she’s easily agitated. I had gotten everything packed and in the car and was dressed appropriately to leave yet when we were leaving the driveway she said I didn’t deserve to go.
I’m finishing here although there’s plenty more to say but I figure you the one reading this gets the picture. It was nice to vent and be heard for once.
Apologies for it being so long I’m working on getting better at paraphrasing.
Annoyed on July 03, 2018:
I have helped my mom for the last 30 years. 10 years ago, she called me hysterically because her roommate was kicking her out because her roommate son needed a place to live. I got tired of her always crying to me that I bought her a place to live. I let her know she needs to take care of her home yet she continues to ask me to pay for trees that fall, I paid for her to have better air condition and I've paid for her septic. She always tries to guilt me so she doesn't have to pay. I constantly tell her you live there. It's your home take care of it. She gets mad and then won't talk to me.
Alicia on June 27, 2018:
I am the youngest and only girl of 4 older brothers. I am 33 and at home with my mom, step dad, and daughter. My mom and daughter worked hard to convince me that it was smart to move home while finishing my master credential. When I moved back, reality of my mom came to light. When I was not with her, we were always on good terms and my daughter did not have behavioral issues to the point that I have professional help to get her feeling her life isn't out of control. I am labeled as the problem child, yet I have the highest level of education than anyone in my family, survived some almost life ending situations, and still have raised my daughter and accomplished goals as a full time single mom. I noticed as i became more successful in life; i felt negative reactions from my mom or something would happen which would allow her to come in and save the day. Yet, every time i would try to have a conversation to talk through boundaries with my child and respecting that i am her parent. Well, somehow my mom and step dad would be leaving their own home to stay in a hotel. Everytime it would leave me confused and avoid any negativity. Negativity ment my mom was going to make me feel like I am wrong and over reacting or if she couldn't accomplish that, then it would be a soap opera drama scene unfolding. Tonight, I learned that she will be going to a celebration party with my daughters sperm donors friends. She kept making excuses for why this was ok, when there are drug issues and safety issues that she knows have been in place since my daughter was born. Addressing this made her all of a sudden sick and needing to go to bed early. I always knew what I was living through, was not healthy or normal by any means. A specially when counseling has been tried and I am long term in counseling and she is always the topic. Now, I have a word to put to the definition of actions. One thing i know, in one year i move out of state due to my bf being in military and that will be the day I can leave this unhealthy relationship behind and raise a healthy minded daughter who is not being treated the same way I got treated by the same person. Then, we will finally get the happiness we have always wanted without being belittled.
Grieving in Denver on June 21, 2018:
My Mom has died two weeks ago, and I just realized what sacrifice she has had done for the past 60 years to shield us from our manipulative narcissistic father. My Dad is a childish bully, who does anything and everything to have his way. All signs listed above fit like glove. He's got a "favorite" who cannot do no wrong (she's just like him, manipulative, etc.), on the other hand, my other sister and I are pawns in his game for control. So, for the past two weeks I am grieving not only for my Mom's passing, but for the loss of my Dad as well. (BTW, he lost his Mom when he was just 6 and did not learn the basics communication skills.) He picks up a fight with just about everyone, and thrives on adrenaline rush. He'd hasten our Mom's untimely death. Now, when he calls, it is a rollercoaster of behaviors and emotions. All I can do is to listen and say: OK, right, anything else, and, take care. I've decided, I need to protect myself and do nothing that I might regret later.
Dee83 on June 07, 2018:
Wow looks like my mother indeed codependent parent. It’s kinda scary because all the signs is match with her behavior.
Amanda on June 04, 2018:
I always thought my mother was just crazy. This article that I stumbled upon describes her to a T. Now I know what exactly it is and that I’m not the only one who’s experienced this type of abuse. I’ve basixally cut ties for the most part with her, which of course makes feel guilty, but now I realize that’s probably my only option.
SJ on June 02, 2018:
Wow. I am sure my mother is codependent; she has 7 of those signs and I am not surprised. My sister and I have been having issues with our mother ever since we finished high school, and now we're in our early-30's. She has some chronic illnesses, arthritis, migraine, osteoporosis, and she has had depression for somewhat years now.
My sister and I can easily spend an hour talking how enjoyably it is to be with our mother. Her passive-aggressiveness, guilt trips, speaking ill of either one of us to the other, and the list goes on.
I can deal with her issues quite well, I think, but my sister is the one who really does not give a sh!t and she does not want to and I feel sorry for my sister that she has to go through it.
A few years ago, my sister vented a bit and my mother just broke into tears and since then, we do not speak about it. My mother says (thinks) that she has done her best to raise us as a single mother and she has sacrificed a lot. We appreciate everything she has done for us, but not that we are adults, we feel like she expects us to do the same in return. Be there for her, do her groceries, call the customer service when the Internet is down, and etc. Well, given that she is ILL ALL THE TIME (literally, physically all the time, all year long) my mother herself does not give much sh!t about her life, either. She just does not have the energy to go down the building, go across the road to buy some food for herself. It sounds ridiculous, right? This is a normal conversation between my mother and I: "Mom, do you have anything to eat at home?" She would say, "No, I have nothing at home and I'm too lazy to go down to the market." She has been living alone for over 10 years now, after we moved out, and I still find it amazing that she says she does not enjoy eating by herself and she feels alone and lonely when she does. Every time I hear her say that, I feel terribly guilty. I go out downtown, try out new restaurants here and there, and when I do invite her out, she refuses saying it's too far, it's too crowded, and things. She definitely knows how to be passive aggressive and she is quite good at guilt tripping.
I should only share this much today.
TeeTee on June 01, 2018:
I am 42 years old and have parents that had me at 16 years old. I also have 2 younger brothers that they had in their 20's. Both parents are still married and both battled addiction. My mother is in a methadone program that in my opinion has added to her mental illness. They were enabled most of their lives by both Grandfathers. My mothers father did it with complete anger and disdain and my fathers father enabled due to losing a child very young which left him living in fear that he'd lose another. My brother and I have been stolen from, lied to and guilted since we are around 12 years old. We've supported them financially since we are all in our teens. There has been no attempt for them to "fix" themselves. My mother has serious daddy issues and continuously defends my father as a man "that loves his children" regardless of how much he disrespects us. They do not respect boundaries and have done nothing to better themselves. They have serious entitlement issue and feel that they are victims. We have tried cutting ties and they go around telling family members that they love their children and they can't understand why we "hate" them. The manipulation and constant mind "f""ck" have left us in a state of anger and anxiety. We are all successful considering what we endured, but continuously get guilted or stalked into lending money, our cars or whatever it is that they need at the moment. Every interaction with them has ends up in a screaming match. They don't get it. I try to avoid them, but then when I see other family members, the issue constantly comes up and some family members understand us wanting to keep a distance and others give us the guilt of "when you have kids you'll understand". I suffered a miscarriage last year and I am convinced its due to the constant needs and stress that they put me through. They make me say and do things that I am not proud of , but I am left feeling like I am in a pressure cooker all the time. As far as my mother, I feel that the only thing that is important to her is the love of my father (he of course cheated on her several times in their marriage. Its all a complete mess.
Same here on May 31, 2018:
I truly feel good I’m not alone in this either. My dad is extremely codependent. Anywhere around the house I go, he goes. He has some hearing loss which he constantly uses as an excuse to not go out and interact or get a hobby, along with his excuse of being overweight. He uses subtle manipulation all the time to keep me around like offering me money or making me feel guilty for wanting to go out with friends for a night. And when I need a break from being around him he calls his mother who lives distant away to rag on me. He often talks about him being depressed and alone, having no one, etc. (he also recently had to quit drinking alcohol as part of probation so now he really has nothing to do). I get frustrated on a daily basis living with him since he always wants to be around me or hang out with me. I do the most I can to make him happy but sometimes I can’t always be there otherwise I have no time to do anything for myself. He is more of a roommate than a father by now since I don’t get the appropriate responses or emotional support from him. My childhood was dysfunctional since my dad was an alcoholic and and treated my sister and I inappropriately so I always have some resentment against him which he doesn’t seem to get even though we’ve made it obvious. I always end up feeling sorry for my dad but I know I shouldn’t since it’s his life that he is responsible for. My younger sister doesn’t want to live with my dad and I much anymore now (we have joint custody but I am an adult now) I simply just have to ignore his codependent antics at times but it’s hard when we live under the same roof and I don’t want to live him alone.
Jay on May 29, 2018:
You stop.................... but you knew that.
Lucy Fropit on May 25, 2018:
Well sh*t. I'm totally a codependent parent. I guilt and manipulate and yell at my kids. I honestly had no idea. Now what do I do?
Sandy on May 19, 2018:
I think codependent aka narcissistic parents are very aware of what they are doing! And do not have their child best interest at heart at all. They are similar to psychopaths, they will use every tool necessairy to make people comply to their own selfish needs. Who gets hurt in the proces is of no importence to them AT ALL
Less Insanity Plz on May 17, 2018:
Hi, I was wondering about a particular section in this article that stuck out to me:
"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."
Just of curiosity, why do they HAVE to manipulate? What would it do to them it they didn't or couldn't manipulate (or if they actually took a son/daughter's suggestions to attempt to interact in a new, non-manipulative balanced way)? Are they trying to avoid something? Just trying to understand this better (as well as understand my mom better, whom this article describes almost to a T).
rition on April 30, 2018:
I'm not sure what the differences are between codependent and narcissistic parents. Either way it's not a good situation for anyone dealing with these relationships. The best advice is to get away and cut off all contact at an early age.
I can't really relate to the stories on here about parents with their own mental illness. I feel like my parents wouldn't have been able to handle having a daughter or an extroverted son. The disagreements I'm having with them now would've happened 20 years ago and the person would've moved in with someone else.
I was also born with deformities, so the control wasn't exactly holding me back from anything. Just had no idea that if I were still around at this age it'd actually get worse. It feels like an office environment at times, not a family.
I tried to talk about my dad's behavior with him one time and he said "He's just saying that because you don't ignore him (when I need help) like I do." My mom actually tried to accuse me of having BPD for standing up to him.
So yeah, just recognize the signs early and live your own life if possible.
Kara on April 22, 2018:
@getting there (and anyone else for that matter) : They will never stop guilt-tripping or manipulating you, so get away while you can.
Do you want this to go on for the rest of their lives? Or, how about the rest of yours? Studies have proven stress takes a toll on health. Don't let them ruin your health, life, and sanity.
My mom did this to me for years. I felt like the most demented, guilty, evil person because she told me I was. Well, last year she had a stroke. Who had to care for her? Me. I did it with love and kindness.
That wasn't enough. Now she calls every day, several times a day saying I don't love her or I'd sit and visit. If she has company, she acts feeble, fraile, and makes me promise to not put her in a home. we never discuss that!
This past week I just started telling her i cannot and will not real with negativity or guilt trips. And I won't.
Do yourself (and future self) a favor and remove yourself from the situation while you can.
God forbid you need to be their caregiver.
Getting there on April 16, 2018:
Reading this and other people's comments really helped me feel less alone.
I've realized over the last couple of years that my relationship with my mother isn't normal, after a childhood of just thinking this is what loving parents are like, and that the mood swings and sudden explosions must be reasonable responses to how uniquely terrible her life apparently is.
From a young age, I felt the burden of trying to make her life better for her - making sure all the housework was done before she could do it and then complain about how tired she was, trying to diffuse arguments between her and my brother before they started as if it were my responsibility as a child to make sure that she as an adult didn't get too upset and end up doing something stupid.
Because that's her favourite manipulation; if things aren't as she would like, she is going to kill herself. And I always thought, if she DID kill herself, then that would be my fault so I had to do whatever she wanted in order to prevent it.
Even now, I'm still stuck with this. I stupidly moved back in with her after university, and now I don't feel I can move out again because of the guilt she places on me. She talks about it like she needs me here, that I'm the one that makes her life bearable, that she is always so depressed and at the end of her rope (although she refuses to seek any professional help, preferring to place it on my shoulders).
I don't feel I'm at a place yet where I can get out of this situation without feeling guilty and scared of what might happen. But at least learning about the dynamics of our relationship, and that other people suffer this too, I feel like it's not impossible to be free of this.
Tired on April 15, 2018:
My mother is constantly fighting my with my father and never fails to make me feel bad that i do not side with here - to top it off , they are both almost always in pain, and i am the one always having to massage them and listen to their problems. all while trying to live a normal life in my 30s - i am so tired!
Embarrassed on April 04, 2018:
I truly believe I have the most controlling cruel under minding abusive parents ever and 35 I’ve never been able to have a relationship and be happy there in the middle of everything they undermined me as a parent and are all around horrible This is really opened my eyes even when you’re grown-up you can’t get away from your parents it’s a sickness
Anon on March 19, 2018:
My mom is still so immature halfway through her life that it must be hardwired into her. I wish she had never existed.
Mairi on March 05, 2018:
A lot of people commenting are confusing narcissistic personality disorder with dependency. They are not the same thing. Often the codependent is the result of a narcissistic parent and although they can be manipulative, they actually do have empathy, are capable of change (if they realise they have it) and love their children.
Random duh on February 14, 2018:
Sh*t both of my parents are codependent and manipulative. I always thought they just love me too much but they actually don’t. All of them explains my daily life . I’m so done with them now.
Jennifer on February 07, 2018:
I watched the video and it pained me cause all of the signs are the same descriptions I go threw in life and even to this day I deal with this non sense. I've always been the scape goat and it's definitely a hard and horrible life. I've been to counseling to get help only to realize that I'm not the sick one all these years I was made to feel crazy or ill myself. Why do parents project such unhealthy ideas on children. I have never had a best friend or a normal life. It hurts me the most when I see normal families and mothers and daughters who are friends and who do get along. I wonder what it feels like I envy them. I secretly wish I was loved and wanted by my parents. My parents want me for only what I can give them they have no real interest in seeing me be happy. They expect me to stay home and have no life and no friends. Or go to work. I find myself want it to be at work. I have two children they take care of while I'm at work. I feel trapped cause in have no partner and no real people to talk to I feel like I'm my own best friend who never lets herself down , I'm so tired mentally from these people. I read other comments and I can say you're not alone and I feel sad that others go threw this , mental health does and should be recognized cause were only human. I'm tired of the generations of denial and it needs to stop.
Anonymous on February 07, 2018:
I have had issues with co-dependent parents, especially my mother, for years now but it was never as bad as it has been recently. This article has really opened my eyes to the situation and a lot of these signs are exact descriptions of what I go through.
I have been married for less than 2 years. We have our baby's baptism coming up and the whole event has become about my mother and how it will fit into her life. Never mind that we tried to find a date that would work for majority of the family and especially the godparents... it also happened to fall on the same date as something else my mother refuses to miss, and now it has become me and my wife's problem to change the day, time, and location so my mom can attend. We weren't able to do so, and its been WWIII for the past few days.
Anonymous on February 05, 2018:
Above all else that has been mentioned above, my parents give me physical and mental complexes in vain hope that I will miraculously change in an instant, much like bullying only though they express it in a hysterical way. It discourages me to live any further and being the cotton-wrapped child I have been my life, I was never able to have a social life and therefore being the antisocial person, I would see the people around me get girlfriends or boyfriends and for me to be lonely.
Lindsay on February 04, 2018:
This article blew me away...it was like it was directly describing the relationship I have with my mother. It’s wild. And it makes me feel better knowing that I’m not alone. For years our family has been ignoring this problem that just keeps building and I think I’ve finally reached my boiling point. Thank you for the insight and everyone else for their comments. It’s truly eye opening .
Lindy 3330 on February 01, 2018:
I have a codependent mother. It is so hard dealing with her. Ever since I was a little girl she would get overdramatic over somethiNg so trivial and would always let me defend her. It breaks my heart everytime especially at times when I honestly don't know how to deal with adult problems yet I have to find solutions because she would say things like it's better for her to jump off a bridge or whatnot. And more often than not she is inconsistent to the point of driving us (me and my siblings ) knots. I must admit it is so hard to deal with a codependent parent. I often hide in the toilet and cry my eyes out because I get exhausted all the time. Even a siMple text message she gets she would asks me what to reply. As simple question like, "how are you." It would have been more bearable if my father had lived longer but he died when I turned 13. He was a lion. And I miss him ef everyday. I miss having someone stronger than me. Especially on days when I don't have the energy to fight.
rition on January 31, 2018:
Does anyone still live with one or both of their parents as an adult? I imagine it being difficult when you have your own life and getting unexpected phone calls or having them drop by unexpectedly, but it's a lot different when you live with them and they change the narrative to suit their needs.
If you have a problem even a physical illness, it doesn't exist or "no one wants to hear about it." If you try to assert yourself, they exaggerate your issues and blame it on "mood swings" for reacting to something that any normal person would feel offended about. If you get them in a group situation with a professional, they say "We try to get him
to do this and he doesn't listen."
I honestly don't think either one of them are aware of their behavior. I've been reading that parents like this were probably treated this way by their parents, but I'm not sure. My mom was at least allowed to leave the house when she was younger and moved out in her late teens or early twenties.
I don't have the life skills but this is who they are anyway. It just so happens that I have these problems and my siblings are also introverted. Life would already be difficult even if you waved a magic wand over my parents and they were better versions of themselves. This is just a sick joke though. It feels like I'm living in an office environment. When either of them are in a good mood, I don't lower my guard anymore because I know it'll change, it's just a matter of when.
rition on January 31, 2018:
"If Im tired my mother is more tired, if im sick shes even sicker, if im upset noone is more upset than her."
Sounds familiar. Also, "No one does more than me." Everything's a competition and she's the victim.
Anonymous 123 on January 29, 2018:
My father is an alcoholic and my mother is codependent. I’ve never been able to go to either of them for comforting or anything like that. I don’t know what it is like to have parents you can rely on. If Im tired my mother is more tired, if im sick shes even sicker, if im upset noone is more upset than her. Im 33 now and I truly am exhausted of both of them. If my alcoholic father says hurtful things to me, shes dealt with worse....Im not married, I have no children and I often think maybe its better this way. I would hate to be a bad mother. From the outside you would never know what I deal with. Im usually very outgoing and social. But some days, days like today Im feeling like I have PTSD. Her calling me crying about something just brought back so many messed up memories. Memories that I cant shake off....the sad part is they will never be able to sympathize or just give me a hug and use words of comfort to make me feel better.
Sarah on January 27, 2018:
My parents are exactly what you are describing. My parents had always been codependent but I had never gone through any situation that made me suffer from it. Until I decided I wanted to study abroad for six months with some college friends. They never liked the idea, thought it was stupid, risky and that I was an idiot for choosing that and missing out job opportunities during those months. They also thought I wouldn't be under their control so I shouldn't go. I honestly thought about this a lot, for over seven months, I read and asked a lot of people about its pros and cons. Until I finally convinced myself it was what I truly wanted for my life. I had my heart set on it. My parents freaked out. They always thought I wouldn't do it. I wasn't going to ask them for money (of course they had told me they wouldn't give me a dollar). But that was
it for them. They could not accept that their daughter was doing something they didn't think was good. But up to that point, even though the arguments and fights were intense and they always ended up yelling, I still felt I could choose. So when they realised I had finally made my choice, which wasn't the one they expected, they started with their manipulative tactics. Just two weeks before I had to go (I had already bought the flight ticket) my mom started crying saying I was dead to her. She didn't have a daughter anymore. She didn't want me to call her or ever talk to her ever again. And after that, my dad told me one of the worst things he could have ever told me and that I will never forget nor forgive. He killed me. I couldn't believe he could say such a hurtful thing to me. He wanted me to feel extremely guilty for wanting something they didn't want. The problem with manipulative and codependent parents is that they create this unhealthy relationship which they cannot see. They think they are doing what is right and that someday I will understand. And the truth is I won't. I am living a life that is not what I chose, even though I am 23 and I could have financed that trip on my own. That is destructive for our relationship. How can I ever forgive them for forcing me to live a life I did not choose?. I never meant to hurt anyone with this choice. I never thought they would take it this far. But I do know that when I am older I will regret not having done it. And that also hurts. This situation only creates more pain and makes me want to leave the house as soon as I can. I really hope we can all all learn from our parents' mistakes and be better with our children, let them choose what makes them happy.
AdriT on January 26, 2018:
I was mind-blown when I came across these 8 signs. It was as if someone was describing every aspect of my relationship with my mother in detail. This post has helped me understand the dynamics of an unhealthy relationship - it's very difficult to understand what is happening when it's the only thing one has known their whole life! I am in the process of establishing boundaries and experiencing an uphill battle, specifically tantrums thrown by my mother where my friends, loved ones, and members of our community are brought into these (embarrassing) discussions (via email, phone, social media, etc) with the purpose of getting what she wants. I only wish I would have been aware of this years ago... I am now in my thirties and have had many issues that were a direct cause of these unhealthy interactions including depression, anxiety, and personality insecurities. All of course have had a negative effect on personal and work relationships. I strongly encourage everyone that is in a similar relationship dynamic to act as soon as possible and take control of your life. THANK YOU FOR POSTING.
Amber Lerella on January 15, 2018:
thank you so much for this post. I'm 16 now, but I've been aware of my mother's codependency issues for quite some time, even since my father divorced her. he was her rock, he told me on numerous occasions how he felt like their relationship was more father-daughter as opposed to the marriage they affirmed. I struggle with depression and anxiety, potentially even bipolar but my mother simply does not care enough about my life & welbeing to arrange a doctor's appointment, or anything of the sort. I've told her how I felt like my life wasn't worth living and she disregarded it repeatedly, she didn't even tell my father that I needed help. she pushes all my problems under the rug and complains about herself all the time, especially her first world problems. it's always "me me me" with her, I basically do not matter unless I'm trying to improve my life. she has something to say if I propose the idea of me going back to work or college, I took a temporary break from both due to my depression and dire lack of motivation. she doesn't have a job, claims she desires one yet makes no effort to acquire one. she doesn't have a car, refuses to drive out of a fear of "crashing". I'm home bound with her all day and she doesn't seem to care, she asks me if I'm ready to re-attend college but never offers me any solutions. all I ever wanted from her was for her to say, arrange a spontaneous spa break for us both. that's what normal mothers do when they sense their child is suffering, no? she has no mind of her own and everything turned to crap once my dad moved out. I've literally thought about doing that for myself, because she would never conjure up such a gesture. she never wants to show me love, appreciation, or anything, and I feel it's because she can't, not because she's withholding it. I don't remember the last time she did something for me that I hadn't asked her to twenty times first. she used to complain about making me cups of tea, as if it was the hardest thing anyone's had to do. I do everything for myself now, and she'll still complain about trifling things like a single wrapper not in the trash. I'm living independently, but I'm doing everything for her. I've given up on my own life as a result of her giving up on hers. I've had to be independent all this time, but my life has become a total catastrophe in the process. she asks me for help with EVERYTHING, we're supposed to be moving house soon and I bet she expects me to do EVERYTHING at 16, it's her job to arrange house viewings and removal vans, etc, not mine. I'd be happy to chip in, but why on earth does she leave everything to me? codependency.
Jane Best on January 11, 2018:
My Mom has had a temper since I can remember – her reactions do not ‘tally’ to whatever ‘event’ has happened. A classic example from a few years ago is when I nipped into a local boutique to grab a birthday present. It was c. 3pm and I was due at her house to take her to choose a new TV. When I told her that I’d dropped into the boutique, she instantly became toxic towards me with comments such as “Why couldn’t you have told me, your old mother who you know likes to get out?!” She accuses me of doing things like that in secret even though it’s not secret ‘cause I told her. Btw, she is completely capable of getting out to shops herself.
I explained that I was in and out as no time for browsing or wondering around the village – plus it was out of my way to pick her up just for such a quick visit to a shop.
She was horrible to me. On the journey in my car to choose her TV, she was hissing expletives under her breath (I’m sure she thought that she was only thinking them but I could hear her!) I’ve had several of those instances over the years. That and comments like “I could be dead soon anyway”. Had those since I was a teenager and am now 46. I retaliated once saying that I could be killed on the fairly long motorway journey to / from work and that shut her up for a bit.
When I caught my husband of three years having a major sexual and emotional affair (end Nov. 2016) and found out it had been going on for nearly four years, (kicked him out for four months), it was two months before I told her – and I only did that over the ‘phone ‘cause I’d been drinking. I was amazed at her sympathetic response to be honest esp. considering that shortly after I’d caught him but before telling her, she was yelling at me, with her face almost contorted, telling me that he was a “Nasty little man. NASTY LITTLE MAN.” Why? Because we’d asked her to join us at a local pub for big surprise visit for some family over from Oz. She didn’t believe he really wanted her there, ‘though he did. Paranoia seems to be another of her traits. Anyway, she said she relieved to know why I was on anti-depressants which I am sure she was; part of me also thinks that she felt she had ‘one over’ on my husband. I could be being unfair on that one.
She’s mellowed a bit until recently, when she’ll blurt out for no reason, “I’m just a burden to you aren’t I?” I am there every Saturday afternoon to take her shopping and have done that for over twenty years. I’ve been there several times last year painting and staining outside steps, walls and the shed. I’ve been seeing a therapist about husband’s selfish affair with his married mistress and about my Mom’s controlling behaviour. I told her I wanted one Saturday off a month and she called me selfish. I said my brother would come over once a month from Wolverhampton (I told him he had to step up) but she said “I don’t want HIM taking me shopping; I remember once he did that and then drove off and I had to get the bus home.” He was about 18 then, he is now 54.
The latest, last Friday, I went to the pub opposite where I live and the battery on my mobile went flat. Got in the house and shortly after the landline rang. She was going nuts saying that she’d not been able to get me on either ‘phone. I tried to explain but I couldn’t get a word in and it got so bad that I had to hang up on her. I must that admit. I wished she’d die that night so that I could be free of her bullying ways. At the time, I think that I meant it which makes me ashamed as I am a Christian. I called her Saturday night but got one word answers. No “God bless” to me at end of call like she normally does, even though I said it to her. Drove by her house on Monday after work to check she wasn’t lying on the living floor but she had her blinds pulled shut tight which she doesn’t normally do, so she’ll have known I was likely to stop by. She knows how I’ll react to her amazing way of making me feel guilty as much as I do. Called her Monday night and got a few more words from her but she was still miserable towards me and no “God bless” again. I didn’t say it this time either as just felt emotionally ‘battered’ by her. She hasn’t called me. One of us calls the other just about every night (unless we fall asleep) to say goodnight but she hasn’t bothered. It’s now Thursday.
I’ve told her several time to call my husband if she can’t reach me as chances are, I’m stood next to him or he’ll know where I am. She forgets to do that and instead launches into a rage.
I want to check on her as I worry, as she is 88 but the thought of another hard telephone conversation fills me dread. She makes me feel like child. People say it’s her age but it’s NOTHING to do with age. Her neighbour who died a couple of months ago was 90+ and she wasn’t like it. My brother’s Mom-in-law, Joyce, is in her late 70s and she’s not like it. Some say it’s ‘cause my Dad died when I was six, but Joyce lost her husband young too.
My Mom is generous with her money but I’ve said many times to family etc. that I’d rather she kept it and gave anything in her Will to charity, and instead that she was nice towards me and my brother.
She can be really funny and light but her rages really come out of ‘left field’. I honestly believe that she has something called Borderline Personality Disorder as she fits 5-6 of the 9 traits: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorder...
I know I won’t change her and I’ve been working hard to change my reaction to her; Friday, I’d had a drink and she was just shouting over me so I snapped. So, I want to call her, if anything to try get back to ‘normal’ however long that will last.
To robynbase on January 08, 2018:
I really appreciate your post. What beautiful comments despite such terrible circumstances. Your heart is in the right place.
Rition on January 04, 2018:
I just wish I'd known this information years ago. I figured it wouldn't matter with my problems but I also had better life skills when I was younger compared to now. Either my life would've improved or I would've crashed but not under their authority. Now I have no option but to live with one person I despise and another who has good qualities but is still controlling/plays the victim/defends the abuser. It's either that or become part of the system and have absolutely no independence. Homelessness isn't really an option either because I live in the middle of nowhere.
One thing that'd help is if they both took a vacation, but I'm lucky to get maybe a few hours of alone time.
It's just hard living a lie because there aren't any other options.
I'm sorry for anyone who has to deal with this kind of control. Living at home makes it tougher but I imagine it's just as bad when you have your own life but you're getting calls from them left and right.
I'm not sure what causes this type of parenting. Neither of my parents were overprotected. My mom's implied that my grandfather was tough but I know that her and her brothers and sisters weren't kept on tight leashes.
She's a lot easier to deal with than my father who basically has no redeeming qualities.
robynbase on December 29, 2017:
I have parents that have traits of some disorders. I paid a good amount for counseling and felt some freedom in just being able to articulate my experiences. Ultimately I have to change on my own by asking God for help because I know what a mess I am. I have accepted who they are and have let go of expectations. I don't want to diagnose them myself, but I can say my mom has traits of a co-dependent and borderline personality or bi-polar. My dad has traits of narcissism and co-dependency. My dad has enabled her emotional volatility and alcoholism. As many have explained about their own parents, they are also loving and caring. No one would describe them as bad or mean. But they have been destructive, nevertheless. Holidays and family gatherings are my mom's worst time of manipulation and control. She expects everything to be perfect. No one can make an expression she doesn't like. She spends without any budget in mind, although they're on a small fixed income. If anyone tries to rein in her spending by saying we don't need all the food and gifts, she will cry or say she's going to do it anyway. It seems nice, but it's clearly another way to salve the wounds in her soul. It's either that, or alcohol, or some other distraction. I've talked to them both about how they are hurting me deeply, and they respond by cutting off communication for long periods. I do not ask for an apology or tell them how their actions in the past hurt me. There's no point. I've just asked them not to share details of their marital problems (which they've done since I was a toddler) or send me hateful texts with cuss words and horrendous accusations. They will stop for a time until they feel that I'm over it, and then they do it all again. I can barely stand their company for more than an hour. They have a way of messing with my mind and making me feel like they're digging at my soul. They're hurt deeply inside, so they can't break free permanently from their behavior. It's sad for me because I wish my parents could have been part of my life in a wholesome way, but they just cannot do it. I ask God to fill up that loneliness in my heart and to help me grow because I am still unable to respond to them with love and maturity.
Arch1e on December 26, 2017:
I've just read this and showed it to my brother. He asked did I write it. It describes our mother to a tee. It makes heartening and horrible reading in equal measures. I'm so glad to be able to put a name to what it is we experience, but find it massively upsetting that it happens, and other people have suffered it to the point that it has a label and a webpage(s) about it.
I am currently suffering from a major bout of depression and was hospitalised for a week just before Christmas because of it. My mother's response to this has been centred around her and she shouts at me when we try to discuss things. This leads me reacting to not being listened to by swearing at her (which I'm not proud of = guilt) and then she deals out the more guilt and becomes emotionally aggressive. She is Irish and says its just her manner.
She is quite simply impossible to deal with. My brother and I agreed that it is like being in an abusive relationship. I would rather have no contact with her but know will be hammered by her because she is bi-polar and her sons should support her and how dare I cut her off because she is ill and that she raised me when her marriage split up (I was 5 at the time, now 42).
I would really like her to read this page. Has anyone on this forum ever shared this with their person and what was the outcome?
Rica on December 25, 2017:
My mother is extremely manipulative, and my father is both manipulative and abusive. Infact, almost everyone in my family is manipulatiave and abusive. I'm now blamed for ruining Christmas because apparently I didn't smile "enough" when opening my present. And now she's spreading the word of how ungrateful I am, how I don't love her, and then she got family friends to turn on me. This kind of behaviour didn't just happen on Christmas, it happens almost daily, it's a regular occurance. I seriously have no where to go, and I'm bloody annoyed at all the lies she's told. She's twisting stories, twisting my words, I thought when I escaped one abusive parent, I would never have to deal with it again.
Well, there goes that.
rition on December 24, 2017:
Sorry for the late response. I think myopic is a better word to describe both of my parents. I don't think either of them are aware of what they're doing which makes it worse. Being intentionally controlled isn't any better but it would have been easier for a professional to spot years ago. A mom that cares too much might have just made her come off as concerned and slightly overprotective instead of what it really was and still is.
rition on December 24, 2017:
My parents bought me a video game system for christmas. The problem with this is i'm in my 30s and haven't played video games since middle school.
They knew i didn't want anything. I'm also a minimalist anyway. I tried to stay out of the gift exchanging but they told me to come down. Now i'm being blamed for ruining christmas.
Shows you how clueless they are. Like buying a gift could make up for all of the passive aggressive side comments and control. They told me they had to search all over the place for it. Now i'm being pinned as the abuser.
I don't have the greatest people skills but i wouldn't spend hundreds of dollars on a gift i know someone would never want then blame them for not being able to keep a poker face. I'm just sick of this.
Teddy on December 23, 2017:
I have a mother that makes me fly back and forth by plane to university and back every week. Its been hard. I am her world and I just thought it'll be healthy for me and her to be apart for awhile. She visits me every 2 weeks, therefore I see her 9 out of 14 days, and I'm by myself every 5 days. I have siblings but there id no offset. Therapists are useless. Everyday, I'm deciding whether I should surrender or runaway. I often have fights with her every week because She puts most oh her loss on me. She is the bread winner of the family, so most of the time she gets to be right. She has a tragic past so there's lots of room to play victim. I'm at the edge trying to figure which is best to do. We both want opposite things. One would indeed have to suffer. I love my mum, it'sad and laughable.
Xanna on December 19, 2017:
I understand what you are saying about others not seeing it. Your mom is probably narcissistic which makes her a good manipulator. Narcissistic people can put on a good show to anyone outside of family that truly know them.
Xana on December 19, 2017:
I have codependent parents and my husband has a codependent mother.
ME on December 15, 2017:
When someone says - wow this is so accurate it almost like you made this up yourself its so exact. HA. *cries*
TAACCT3 on December 14, 2017:
I'm just glad I'm not as alone as she always made me think.
rition on December 13, 2017:
Why is it that therapists have no idea about codependent or narcissistic parenting? I tell them what's going on in my house and they just listen and don't ask any further questions.
My current therapist actually bought my mom's victim act until he got to know me more and I'm sure he still probably might feel bad for her.
The other professional I confided in believes me but the social workers he recommended don't take my crappy insurance anyway.
Parents like mine want their adult children to live with them forever and then complain about them living at home. I wonder what would have happened if they'd had a daughter or an assertive son instead of me and my other sibling. They wouldn't have known what to do because they would have stood up to them at a much younger age.
Sorry if I'm venting, but it's frustrating when no one steps in. My dad's an emotionally abusive prick even to my mom and he walks around guilt free while I'm having panic attacks. My mom gets mad at me when I give it right back to him.
TL:DR: If you have the life skills, assert independence as early as possible or you'll be stuck forever.
Tim on December 05, 2017:
Saved my sanity. Now I'm not going to go therapy for this. I know its okay to let go of them permanently without the accompanying guilt. Now time to just move on with life.
tam on December 02, 2017:
thank you Kim B. =)
random teen on November 30, 2017:
Wow I knew something was up with my mom. We have the worst relationship. Now I know that she’s codependent. This was a veg informative and good article, thank you. I just wish I knew how to handle my mother bc she is becoming unbearable and literally makes me depressed. Oh well
rition on November 30, 2017:
I talked to a professional who told me that my father's actions qualify as abuse. Not only the verbal insults and stonewalling, but also raising a hand to any of us shows intent even if he never actually hits anyone.
I'm glad I found this article and some of the accompanying links. Sometimes I let my guard down because either he isn't home or he's nice for a short period of time. Looking back on it he's always made these comments to everyone in the family. Seeing his actions get progressively worse forced me to talk to someone else about it.
My mom's actions are a lot more manageable because of the lack of a temper. We also spend a lot of time together whereas my father's made no effort to get to know me as a person and shut down any talk about anything important.
I'm not going to report it yet because there's a lot to think about and a lot of potential dominoes to fall that affect everything else. I might also have less credibility because of my own mental health issues but the person I talked said they'd vouch for me and this has been discussed with most therapists I've seen in the past.
I'm just glad I found this info and know that I'm not alone in dealing with this.
rition on November 26, 2017:
My mom has both codependent and narcissistic traits. Used to live through my problems, now she blames me for her problems. Then if I try to establish independence she turns back into codependent.
Dad is definitely a narcissist. Never thought it described him because he doesn't really like attention and doesn't have any friends outside of work. The only people that see it are me and everyone in the house. Verbally insulting.
Never admits he's wrong about anything. Blames us for other people's mistakes. Cares what the neighbors think even though he doesn't talk to them.
One thing that's helped me is separating my own issues from their behavior. Sometimes it's easy to think "I deserve it" but they're the same way with my other siblings and they'd have the same personalities regardless.
Anon on November 23, 2017:
This article describes my mother's behavior as of recently to a T. Glad I read the comments so I could
Ggg on November 13, 2017:
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.
John on November 12, 2017:
This article 100% describes the narcissist. Who ever wrote is either a narcissist themselves or has no clue what they are talking about.
Debra on November 12, 2017:
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.
Amy on November 07, 2017:
This article is describing Narcissistic Personality Traits- not codependency.
Biting Bird on November 07, 2017:
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.