Mother and Daughter – Co-dependency versus Entitlement


The thing is, I’ve stayed bound up with my mother.  On the surface, it seems as if it’s been – and still is – about my material vulnerability.  She stepped in when three businesses had gone down in a row, and I was freaking out at bank harassment.  At everything.  The phone ringing, a car pulling up outside.  They’re coming to get me.

My mother and my brother organized my sequestration to get the banks off my back.  And they paid for it.  They wouldn’t let me participate in any way.  I was treated like a basket case.  I felt even more disempowered by it all.  Then my mother paid my bills for a year without complaint.  She said, “as long as it takes”.

But something happened between us.  The years passed and it took me longer to recover than she had expected.  She didn’t know what the true story was, how I’d ended up in debt to the banks, and how my businesses went down.  In fact, she refused to listen.  She had in her mind an image of me having recklessly used up bank credit.  End of story.

I would go through times when I couldn’t get work, or it didn’t come in, and I’d ask her for help.  I’m in one of those periods at the moment.  She became increasingly reluctant to help me.  Until eventually we’ve ended up with what we have now – which is a repeat of what I grew up with.

That I’m a nuisance, that I’m terribly talented, there’s nothing wrong with me, I should have work, I should have recovered, what’s the matter with me.  I don’t have the right to my needs and they’re definitely not justified, and helping me is destroying her, it’s preventing her from doing what she wants to do with her life.  Because she’s helping me she’s allowed to use me as her emotional dumping ground.  I’m afraid to defend myself for fear she’ll switch off the life support.

It’s exactly how things started, when I was born.  Amazing, huh?  Becoming so vulnerable financially and emotionally has led me back slowly and steadily, and at a pace I could handle, to the essential dynamic of my relationship with my mother.   It’s led me to my truth.

It’s all played out in the arena of money, but it’s not about the money.  It’s about do I have the right to my own needs?  Is it okay to be vulnerable in the way that I am?  Do I have the right to back-up and support?  Do I have the right to live my life in a way that’s meaningful to me?  Do I have the right to be supported by life, by people, until that way is clear to me, no matter how much it takes?

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2 thoughts on “Mother and Daughter – Co-dependency versus Entitlement

  1. I am sure writing this out will be cathartic for you and helpful for so many others in your position. I wrote and recommended a super book:Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud – it turned me and my relationships around! I HEAR you!

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