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I was Missing the Unhealthy

Saturday, November 30, 2019

I realize I sometimes miss the unhealthy with both relationships and with food. It's important to recognize this dynamic, so I don't sink into something toxic. Most recently, I realized how unhealthy my "close" relationship with my mother used to be. I had become an enabler. I wanted so much to save her from the stress of caring for my father that I physically helped her beyond what i could truly handle. I became her primary confidant, which eventually turned over time into verbal punching bag to release her stress. She isolated herself from friends, refused to seek professional support and expected me to be her only emotional support. When I set boundaries and stepped back, things escalated, which was painful. Eventually, after the dust settled, something beautiful happened. She reached out to friends. Over time she started making regular plans with all different friends she rediscovered. That is how it should be. Nobody should expect one person to be everything to them. Our relationships is still strained, but no tirades in a while from her. When I miss the "closeness," I remind myself of how toxic it became and I rename it "codependency." I had spent less time with my own friends and was setting up fewer playdates for my kids because I was drained from mom's needs.

During the holiday season I still find myself pining for old UNHEALTHY habits. I still have fantasies of going to a bakery and getting a bunch of holiday cookies...for me! I want to bake...which ALWAYS results in me over-indulging-even with health-ified recipes. I want to go to a cookie exchange. I realize these things feel like warmth and comfort to me, but just like the relationship I had with my mother, they weren't. Yes, it's good to be close with a parent and no it isn't bad to have a cookie occasionally. The thing is, with mom she wasn't taking care of herself and she let her neediness grow out of control. Also her own mom had verbally abusive tendencies toward one child (not my mother) so there may be a genetic tendency she needs to keep in check. With cookies, I am like an alcoholic and abstinence is best. With mom, I will continue a relationship, one with healthy boundaries.

**There is a good chance I will take this down at some point because it is personal.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You went through some pain and heartache to get to the healthy place where you are now. It's great that your partially withdrawing from your mother helped her realize she needed friends. That was very wise of you, and whether she realizes it or not, very good for her. I'm glad everything turned out so surprisingly well, after quite a bit of suffering. May this good trend continue! (I'm sure your children are happier, too, since you made this change and found a way to be less distressed.)

    Oh the food--holidays are so hard! I wonder why we in our culture were so unwise as to make Thanksgiving less than four weeks before Christmas. The onslaught of festive food can be just too hard to handle. But you are sounding very grounded and stable, so I have a feeling you'll get through this without major damage. I'm hoping I manage to do that, too!
    43 days ago
  • SPICY23
    emoticon As you do so well, you have chosen a 'healthy path' through the heartache forest. Hopefully things will mellow with your Mom as she moves on from the strain of caregiving. Stress can turn people into strangers over time. Give yourself a loving pat on the back.

    Peace and Care
    47 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    What an insightful & thought-provoking blog. Going inward is a hard process but sounds like you are gearing up for a better future.
    49 days ago
    What a blog full of truth! I think it is true of EVERYONE, that at some point or other in our lives, we have unhealthy relationships w/people and food! I know I definitely had a very unhealthy relationship w/food. It was elevated to a position of friend, comforter, soother -- none of which was reality! I'm with you that I find, for me, abstinence for me is best around those foods that are my triggers.

    As for relationships, it definitely does 'suck us in' when we take on the role of rescuer to someone who is not willing to do their own work to become healthier emotionally (and physically). Setting boundaries is difficult, but for sure is life-saving!

    I an so happy you sound a bit more relaxed. You deserve that.

    HUGS and here's to a wonderful December!

    50 days ago
    THIS: "I realize I sometimes miss the unhealthy with both relationships and with food."
    Amazing insight and realization! You can't change what you don't acknowledge... and now you have all you need to move forward!
    50 days ago
    The holidays are a difficult time for many us. A Norman Rockwell Christmas it's not. Emotions run rampant and the old way was to try to bury them with food. Exercise works better. Setting a healthy boundary is difficult too, especially with family. They have a tendency to trample all over them and then wonder why you're upset. At least that's how it is with my family. Tomorrow begins a new month. Wishing for us a month filled with better days. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    50 days ago
    I love to cook but can't cook like i would like because of pain and my husband having dementia he does not enjoy eating like he once did...thank you for posting and wish for you a wonderful holiday season.
    50 days ago
    That is great about your mom getting back with her friends. It shows that tough love really works. Also may I suggest Cookieholics Anonymous.
    50 days ago
    love how you are taking care of you Hugs
    50 days ago
    Good to express yourself.
    50 days ago
    You have such a beautiful way with words. You are very insightful. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.
    51 days ago
    You have such a beautiful way with words. You are very insightful. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.
    51 days ago
    Very wise and insightful!
    51 days ago
    You might want to check to see if there are CODA meetings in your area; they can be very helpful with co-dependency issues. Good for you for creating boundaries.
    51 days ago
  • VHAYES04
    I also love to cook. The holidays brings out the baking goodies in us.
    51 days ago
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