Reformed Codependency

It is Thanksgiving. I feel like some sort of supernatural being just punched my gut and reached into my chest and ripped out my heart. Somehow I am not in the fetal position on the floor.

Things you should know: 1. My mother is a recovering alcoholic 2. I have spent almost the past decade trying to work through my feelings about this and gain a healthy relationship with her 3. Lots of therapy 4. We are in a good place 5. A really good place

Today I will celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful mom. About an hour ago I called her to see if she saved the giblets from the turkey. I need them to make gravy. She said she had and seemed really flustered on the phone. She asked me if I could come over early, I couldn’t. I still had a pie in the oven and cornbread that needed to go in. She sounded disappointed but politely said she had to go. I leapt into action, quickly giving instructions to my husband so I could head over and help my mom.

In the car on the way over I was happy, everything was going to be fine. If I am honest as I charged into my mom’s apartment I felt like a superhero, “Here to save the day”.

I helped some, then my mom’s friend Lori arrived. I turned to my mom and said, “She’s early.” I didn’t understand. Then I realized, my mom had asked her to show up early to help. Her friend not me was the true hero.

I could tell my mom felt bad, she didn’t want to hurt me. As quickly and politely as I could I grabbed what I needed and said goodbye.

This doesn’t make any sense. She used someone else instead of me. I should be shooting through the moon with joy. I have been trying to get to this point for a little under half my life span. And here is the moment. We are no longer connected in the deathly way we have been for most of my life. But I feel sad and my heart hurts.

I imagine the way I feel is most similar to how most parents feel when their children leave the nest.

For most of my life, starting at about 13, I have been the parent in the relationship. I have been responsible. I have thought ahead. I have planned. I have cleaned up messes. This is not how things should have been but it is how they were.

Today for the first time, I received the clearest sign that this time is over. From this day forward I am free. It is as though an invisible thread tangling my mother and me has broken.

Yet, I feel sad. She doesn’t need me anymore. We are no longer linked in the spiral toward oblivion. We now walk on separate paths. It is the end of a journey.

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