I have been struggling with various bits of emotional conflict for 13 years now. When I was 6, my mom picked up a guy at the bar. He got in lots of trouble with DUI, theft, drug abuse, illegal gambling and many other crimes. He beat my mom, used her for money and ass. He stole from us to the point that we went bankrupt. Everyone in my family hated this fellow and estranged us as family because Mother wouldn't let him go. In 2011, the hurricane weathers broke a levy up in New York that caused a flood that destroyed our community. We had to stay with one of the few relatives that still liked us while Mom's boyfriend was forced to go to his relatives. In that time, he stole guns for pills. Luckily for us, the guy has was selling to was a narc and he went to prison. Unluckily for me, Mom still loved him and visited him every month for a year. She took him back. I'm a grown man now, sitting here in our new home, still pondering why he continues to be a thing that plagues me and my family to this very day. He hasn't changed a bit. He still gambles, does drugs, doesn't give us money, steals, drinks and manipulates.Why would Mom want that? Why would she ask for this day in and day out? Why do I bother trying to improve her life when she doesn't seem to want things to change for the better? Sorry if this has been long-winded but this has been on my mind for far to long and therapy hasn't helped since I was 14. I just want closure.
Feral (19, Pennsylvania)
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You’re not the one who needs therapy; your mom does. It’s a legitimate question you ask—why would any woman want to be loyal to a drug-addicted loser criminal? Usually, the reason is that the woman (and this also applies in reverse with a man connected to a loser woman) has low self-esteem and doesn’t think she deserves better, so she will stick with anyone who says that they love her, even if that person is a no-good bum. It is a kind of co-dependent relationship and the same reason why many women stay with a man who physically beats them. There is also the psychological condition in which the woman thinks that her love and loyalty will, somehow, eventually, save the other person. Here is a helpful WikiHow article on how to tell if someone is codependent.
The most direct solution to this problem would be for your mother to see a therapist to work on her sense of self-worth so that her eyes will open up and she can see that this guy does not make for a good partner.
There are also nonprofit organizations that can help. One of these is Co-Dependents Anonymous International, which has meeting places all over this country, including Pennsylvania. CoDA has also published a book that you might want to check out on Amazon. It’s only eight bucks for the Kindle version. Of course, you can browse online for other similar books, too.
Until your mother recognizes she has a problem and does something about it, you won’t be able to get rid of the loser. Here’s the real problem: going up to Mom and saying something like, “Mom, I think you have a codependent relationship problem and maybe you should get some help” will likely not be received very well. You might try a more indirect approach, such as casually talking about the issue of codependency without targeting Mom. Maybe mention you read something interesting on the Internet about it or know someone who is codependent. Perhaps she will see a parallel in the discussion.
Then there is always the hope that a new, better guy might come into her life and replace the jerk, but that may be just wishful thinking.
At this time, I think I would suggest getting the book on codependency and learning more about it. Perhaps if you understand your mother more it will help you to help her.
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