What causes codependency? Am I an enmeshed parent? I have to be honest, I have gone down the rabbit hole on the topic of becoming a codependent parent. Shortly after separating with my husband, I began to identify a change in my parenting style. Parenting with fear and a need for acceptance creates an emotional relationship dependency and attachment to my children.
Prior to marriage, I had gone through several other life experiences that also molded me into a mother that parents carefully, is very sensitive to the needs of her children, and constantly analyzes her actions and their affects on her young, yet it was single parenthood that seemed to create an insecurity in my parenting style.
What Causes Codependency?
My childhood was typical of many other blue collar American kids. Mom and dad were split and remarried. Both worked very hard to give me an ideal life. I had a loving father, mother, brother and sister 10 hours away in Mississippi and lived with a loving father and mother in Chicago as a single child. As you can imagine, I was in between families a lot, but was an over all happy kid!
It was my unique childhood that made me so independent. I was able to learn individually from each of my parents! However, the split family situation created a confusion on where I belonged, which in return played the groundwork for codependency. I am very aware of this feeling from my childhood and am constantly working to make sure my boys never feel like “the black sheep”. Unlike my childhood, I want them to know where they belong. It is great to learn from your life experiences and parents, yet you must be sure not to develop negative habits from them.
It can be the most exciting time of your life but a marriage with missing pieces or the ending of a marriage can bring about a darkness and longing to connect. When your marriage doesn’t feel whole you look for happiness in other places. Naturally parents are instantly happy when interacting with her kids. While this is natural, interaction to fulfill an emotional need can be very unhealthy. This can also cause one to rely on their kids to fill the void.
LOOSING A SIBLING
While sometimes I feel that they are all I have, the fact of the matter is, my boys are NOT MINE. They are God’s. He just gave me the blessing of bringing them in to this world. I learned this at a younger age when watching my mom grieve over the death of my baby brother.
Sure your children look like you and have inherited the same gestures and some personality traits, but just in the time that it took them to enter the world, they can be unexpectedly taken away. This whole notion can create the ultimate helicopter mom. Want to learn more about my brother’s passing? Grieving the Death of a Sibling
What is Codependency?
Codependency is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner or loved one, typically one who requires support.
If you are a codependent parent or relate on any level, especially single moms, I have discovered some fixes.
Fixes for a Codependent Parent
Stop Associating the Key to Your Happiness with Others
While we can’t imagine life without our kids, you need to remember the happiness you experienced before being a parent. This proves that you can be happy, independently of your children and do not need to rely on them. Relying on your children for happiness is not fair to them.
Don’t take it Personally.
Kids will be kids and unintentionally say hurtful things. Some moms verbalize to their young that their feelings were hurt by them and as a parent, we cannot let this happen. Try to understand the cognitive level and development of your kid's unexperienced brains compared to your brain and don’t let it get to you. Kids love you unconditionally. Know this!
Spend Time Alone
Whenever I get the chance, I plan a little date with myself doing crafts, trying a new wine, cooking, learning a new hobby or trade. This helps to create a feeling of empowerment, allowing you to feel more appreciative of yourself.. Spending time alone and being present with yourself is the ultimate food for your soul and self recognition at that!
How to Tell If You are a Codependent Parent?
Want to know if you are a codependent parent??
“Common symptoms include:
- Low Self-Esteem: Having feelings of shame and worthlessness
- Poor Boundaries: Often feeling responsible for others’ joy and happiness. You may have a hard time saying “no” or putting your needs first.
- You tend to fall for those that you can fix.
- You go above and beyond to instill peace in your relationships.
- You feel responsible for others and their actions.
- You feel that you are responsible for your husband or wife’s happiness.
- You have a fear of being alone, rejected or abandoned
- You do not trust easy.
- You seek others approval to feed your own self-worth.
- You do not like change and have a difficulty adjusting.
- You often doubt your decisions.
- Your moods are controlled by the thoughts and feelings of those that you surround yourself with.
I have shared several of my experiences on codependency as a parent over on the blog. I would love for you to check them out.
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