Updated: Aug 29
I grew up viewing my parent’s relationship with my mother being codependent and my father being narcissistic. At first it did not make sense to me because I always viewed my mother as being the “bad” one because of how much anger she harbored. My dad was always the “nice” one who was always calm and laid back. He always defended me against my mom. I had an superhero image of him. I used to despise my mom as a child. We used to fight all the time. However, it wasn’t until I got older that I understood the dynamic between them two and how my father’s infidelities, lack of emotional availability, love, honesty, support, psychological and emotional abuse behind closed doors, sparked anger and resentment in my mom to the point she couldn’t hold it in.
This raised me to be an anxious attachment and codependent. This caused me to attract narcissistic partners who psychologically and emotionally abused me. This caused me to develop my own anger and resentment because I didn’t understand why nothing was ever “enough” for my partners to treat me right. I had two long-term relationships that almost identically mirrored each other. Ironically, both their names were the same and I endured the same abuse, lol. Funny how the universe works.This then transpired in my work place, where I went above and beyond to always be the "best" and win the approval of my bosses. My relationship with my parents also took a hit because I would always do everything in the name of them and I would abandon myself and my needs for them and to make them proud. It affected my schoolwork and I felt I had to get a degree in something "important" to make them proud. It transpired in my sports and I would work myself to death in order to be good enough for my coaches, teammates and father. It transpired in my friendships and I would always ignore my gut feelings and do what they wanted to fit in or have friends. In all aspects of my life, I was the people-pleaser, the fixer, the giver, the sacrificer. In return, I would pour more and more into my cup of resentment, anger and grief because no one did the same for me in return and no one loved as hard as me...until recently. Until I recently learned that love does not equal self-sacrifice. Love does not mean you completely abandon yourself for others. It doesn't mean you need to shame yourself for saying "no." Love means loving yourself enough to compliment each other and support each other unconditionally. Love means equal effort and expressing your needs and coming to a compromise that benefits both partners. Love means loving each other through the dark and light.
I saw how my mom self-abandoned to please everyone in everything she did. She would serve everyone food first before serving herself. She always had high expectations of people to help and do the “right” things how she would for others. She always helped others, even when she was exhausted and didn’t feel well. She had high expectations for me, my dad, my sibling, her coworkers, etc. and was continuously disappointed that people didn’t do or say or act how she wanted. Because of all the psychological and emotional trauma she endured from childhood and from the relationship with my dad, she didn’t realize she was abandoning herself more and more trying to fix and save everyone else. It wasn’t until I went through my own narcissistic relationships that wounded me severely psychologically and emotionally that I finally understood my mother. I saw myself in her. It finally clicked. It finally made sense. All that anger and resentment and hatred and fear and disappointment finally made sense.
Now I have a lot of compassion for my mom. Although we still struggle with mending our relationship, It gives me relief and peace of mind that I now understand. My brain and nervous system understand what happened and also that I had nothing to do with it. I am enough. I have always been enough. So has my mom.
Sources that helped me understand this TEMPORARY behavior trait are:
Happy Healing, loves.
Art by Alexandra Hartford
*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist