Codependent parent

  • 2 Replies


  • New Member
  • *
  • 12
Codependent parent
« on: July 17, 2020, 10:39:28 AM »
Hello everyone, I am new to the site and this is my first post. I am dealing with several issues at the moment. My husband has a personality disorder (diagnosed by a psychologist). It has only been through my research into personality disorders with regards to H, I have come to realise my mum has a mild pd too. Possibly that's the reason why I ended up marrying a pd  :doh:

From reading posts on this section of the site, I realise my mum is not as bad as many other pd parents. Her issue is codependency. She is generally very kind and loving. But she has no boundaries. She is inclined to 'smother' me. I am in my 40s, with 2 kids, but she still tries to tell me what to do all the time. I find this very upsetting. I was in the FOG for years. It is only recently I have started to see her behaviour clearly, and now I can't unsee it!!

Just a little example. She is babysitting my kids. I phone her to say I will pick the kids up at 3pm. Rather than just accepting that, she says 'Oh why don't you leave them here a bit later, pick them up at 5.' I grind my teeth and explain no, I need to pick them up at 3 because of xyz... She starts to say 'Oh no, leave them till 5,' so I have to explain very firmly that I NEED to pick my kids up at 3pm.

Do you see what I mean? It is mostly over very small, seemingly inconsequential things, but she constantly undermines me as a parent. If I try to assert myself (even in above conversation) she gets very offended. In fact, after that conversation she hung up on me. She might even have an emotional outburst at me when I pick up the kids later (generally if I assert myself, she accuses me of being 'callous')

So my question is: does anyone have experience of dealing with codependent parents? Have you found any successful ways of asserting your independence without getting into constant fights? (folks, please don't tell me to go NC or VLC - I don't want that)

I am 42. It drives me mad that I should even have to deal with this rubbish from my mum. I have enough on my plate trying to figure out how to get away from pdH, without the added stress of my mum bossing me around. As I said, she is very kind and can be great fun. I actually get on very well with her, when she respects my decisions.

Also, I am aware that I need to avoid falling into codependency myself. I make sure that I take time out for self care, I foster my own sense of identity by pursuing my own creative interests, and I am mindful of letting my children make their own decisions when possible (they are very young still). Does anyone with a codependent parent have any other advice around making sure you don't become codependent yourself?

Thanks everyone.



  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 912
Re: Codependent parent
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 12:25:10 PM »
Hi EUMum. Welcome to the forum.  :heythere:

Some of the best info I learned came from Jerry Wise Relationship Systems videos. The ones on self differentiation would imo be helpful to your particular question.

 IMO with 'family systems theory' in mind I would ask am I enmeshed with my Mom if I cant do what I need to do regardless of whether it upsets her or not?

 You are not responsible for her emotions or reaction. If you need to pick your kids up at 3pm you can just do it. You dont need her blessing, agreement, or permission. IME

There are many ways to address our child hood wounds and do Family of Origin work inside of ourselves so we CAN stay in contact since not all disfunctional parents are malignant or toxic. Jerry Wise videos are great for this kind of circumstances. He teaches techniques for people who do not need to protect themselves with no contact.

I hope something here helps you. Good luck!

« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 12:27:05 PM by PeanutButter »
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle



  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 707
Re: Codependent parent
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 04:27:58 PM »
Hi EUMum!

Welcome! A couple of observations on your post. The first, while nobody here is equipped to diagnose anybody else, what you are describing in your mom is not co-dependent behavior. It's PD like behavior. Co-dependents tend to enable PDs, they bend over backwards and walk around on eggshells trying not to upset anybody and putting everyone's feelings ahead of their own. They don't throw a tantrum when they don't get their way and hang up on the other person and then maybe throw in a little verbal abuse in as well.

Another question: is your mom really kind most of the time because she's getting her way most of the time? I ask from personal experience; mine would be very nice (most of the time), when everybody was doing exactly what she wanted. As soon as you set a boundary or said no, the rage would come out. You sort of buried the lead on that example you gave, the important thing isn't that you disagreed on 3pm or 5pm, it's that she hung up on you when she didn't get her way.

No one here (I hope!) will tell you that you should go VLC or NC with your mother. Whatever you do is your decision. They will probably tell you however that you can't control somebody else's reactions. If your mother is going to flip out every time you set a boundary, that's what she's going to do. As PeanutButter said, you aren't responsible for her reactions. You can learn to see the behaviors (which it sounds like you are!) and try to detach yourself emotionally from whatever her reaction is. Jerry Wise is very good, as Peanut Butter said, as is Les Carter. There are some good books on co-dependency (for changing your own thinking not understanding her) and boundaries as well out there. The toolbox on this site is also really good!

« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 04:33:12 PM by Psuedonym »