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Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


I came home yesterday to an email from my mother to tell me she's sold her house and is moving back to her home town about 30 miles away - it was a shock as although she talked about it llast year it hasn't been mentioned for at least 9-10 months, I didn't even know she'd put her house up for sale.

The email said that she had spent a year waiting for me to restore our relationship to how it used to be, and bring some purpose back to her life, and as I hadn't done that, that she'd realised that she has to make a life for herself... and I'm so glad she said that.

I'm glad for myself and I'm glad for her that she's come to that realisation.

My mother has never had any friends or hobbies or social life - she tried to live her life vicariously through me, and with that came the constant pushing and pressure, in fact I would go as far as to say it was an expectation, that I would live the life that she wanted for herself, and include her and take her direction in my every move - and that meant there was no "me", my wishes, values, thoughts, beliefs, dreams, desires, feelings, emotions etc, didn't have a place in that life.

And in saying what she said, she has confirmed for me why I needed to break free of that relationship, so that there could be a "me", so that I could be allowed to exist as a whole person.

And I am left with mixed feelings -

I hope she builds that life for herself, I'd be so pleased to see her with friends and interests and doing things that please her and make her happy. If she succeeds I will be very happy for her, but a little sad that she couldn't do that AND have a relationship with me, because then we probably could've had a workable relationship, maybe even a good relationship? So I'm a little sad that she couldn't stay living where she is now and build a life of her own.

But I also feel like, if she's never had those things, and never been able to do that in the last 37 that I can recollect clearly, she's in her 60's now, is it likely that she will achieve that, or is it just something she wishes she could do, but is held back by all the ingrained messages that have made things this way for so long? She is moving in with her sister and brother-in-law in the short-term, and plans to live very close to them, and I think maybe she will transfer her need to live her life through someone else, onto her sister - as I know she tells me how when she visits her sister and brother-in-law, that she has to advise them what to do with their lives, and escort them to places, and make sure they execute the suggestions she's made to them etc 

And that both saddens and scares me - I worry that my auntie and uncle will soon get fed up of her and then she will be left with nothing again. Maybe it won't, maybe it will be okay - after all they were raised in the same household, but my auntie is more affected by it than my mother, she has a lot of anxiety-related health problems... so maybe it could be mutually beneficial, who knows? I just hope it works out well for her and doesn't bring her more heartache.

There does seem a certain irony that just as I am ready to try to address things and reintegrate myself into some level of relationship with her, that she has decided to do something that I think might signify "the end" for us.... part of me is a bit upset about it, yet in so many ways it is a relief too.



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