Codependent Mothers: mothers depending on their children for happiness
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Codependent Mothers – Impact on Children & Breaking the Cycle

When a mother relies too much on her children for her happiness and sense of self-worth, can be called a codependent mother. She is the one who always puts her children’s needs before hers, always seeks approval, and finds it difficult to say, no. It is a real issue that many mothers struggle with but find it difficult to admit. But if you are struggling with codependency, then you need help because it not only affects you but your children.



Dive into the complexities of codependency with mothers and discover strategies for dealing with the challenges with us. According to certain experts, approximately 90 percent of Americans exhibit indications of codependency to some extent. You will learn what codependency looks like, how it affects the children, and ways you can break the cycle. We aim to guide you towards fostering healthier connections with your children and encourage you towards a balanced relationship. 


What does Codependency look like

A codependent person finds it very hard to care about themselves and self-care starts sounding selfish to them. All they think about is caring about others and fulfilling their needs. A codependent person is emotionally dependent on others. In the case of a codependency with a mother, she is dependent on the well-being of her child, she is involved so much in the child that caring for herself doesn’t seem appropriate to her. 

We can define codependency as:

A relationship where one person is a giver while the other is a taker. A codependent person feels unworthy when not needed and they can do anything to feel wanted, while the other person is a taker and needs someone who gives all the attention just to them. 

But what causes someone to be codependent? According to Dr. Mark A. Field who is a licensed professional counselor, Codependency foundationally is due to a poor concept of self and poor boundaries. 

A codependent mother feels less worthy and unwanted when they are not needed by the one they are dependent on. They do not have any identity, personal interest, or values other than their codependent relationship. They stay in the relationship even when the other person is abusive. 

signs of a codependent mother


Signs of a Codependent Mother

Codependency can occur in any relationship, it can occur between spouses, friends, siblings, and even parents. Codependency can occur even between parents and children. Most of the time in the parent-child relationship, mothers due to their devotion to their children become codependent on their children. 

The mother starts to rely on their child’s approval and mold their life according to the child’s will. Identifying the signs of a codependent mother is important to help her bring change and foster a healthy relationship. Let’s have a look at the signs of a codependent mother:

Undue Caretaking

A codependent mother might go the extra mile to meet the needs of her child even if she has to sacrifice her well-being. Codependent mothers don’t let their children face challenges and make their paths easy to walk on, they are overprotective and are in constant worry.

No set Boundaries

A person who is codependent will find it difficult to set healthy boundaries. In the case of codependency with mothers, they might put their child’s needs above her needs which might make her feel trapped later ruining the relationship. 

Unable to say ‘No’

It might be hard for the codependent mother to say No to her child no matter what. For the codependent mother, the child’s needs are above everything, which can result in a stubborn child who might never expect a ‘no’ from the other side which can result in failures in future relationships. 

Lack of Identity

Codependent mothers might identify themselves with their role as a mother rather than identifying themselves through their interests and aspirations. 

Neglect of personal needs

Codependent mothers neglect their own emotional, physical, and social needs and prioritize the needs of their children. This self-neglect leads to burnout and resentment over time.

Controlling behaviour

One of the major signs of a codependent mother is that she constantly tries to control the behavior of her child but intends for the betterment of her child, unlike a narcissistic mother who wants to achieve happiness. 

Always play the victim

Another sign of a codependent mother is that she will always play the victim and will never take responsibility for their wrongdoing or negative behaviour. They see apologizing as a weakness and will always blame the child for everything, to maintain control behavior.

Use Manipulative Techniques

Codependent mothers use manipulative techniques to get their job done and keep control over their children. She might use toxic methods such as guilt trips, silent treatment, blaming, gossip, sarcasm, belittling, and withholding money or her love for the adult child.  


Effects of a Codependent Mother on Children

Codependency is not a mental health condition but a behavioural issue. It is more complex than it may sound and might need professional help to build a healthy relationship between a mother and child. If a child is raised by a codependent mother, he may face emotional, psychological, and rational effects sooner or later in life. Since children are emotionally very much attached to their mothers, the effects on children caused by codependency are usually long-lasting and damaging for the child as well as his future life relations. 

Let’s have a look at some most common effects on children that a codependent mother can bring:

Lack of Emotions

In healthy relationships, emotions are prioritized and shared positively. Children learn from their parents about different emotions and regulating emotions. A child raised by a codependent mother might feel that his emotions are not valued and might start hiding them from his parents to make them happy. 

Fear of Rejection

The intense fear of rejection might take place in the child’s heart which can lead to difficulty in forming secure relations later in life. 


Anxiety is normal when there is a fear of threat but in the case of a child raised by a codependent mother, their own emotions might sound like a threat to them. This leads to constant anxiety and can develop into disorders later in life. 

codependent mothers increase anxiety in kids

Lack of Decision-Making Power

Children raised by codependent mothers and manipulative parents might find it difficult to make a decision on their own and will find approval from their mother in taking every step of life. 

Relationship Challenges

a child who is raised by a codependent mother will face challenges in forming healthy future relationships. Codependency patterns learned in childhood might reflect in adulthood relationships leading to difficulties in establishing mutual respect and healthy boundaries. 

In Constant need of mother’s validation

The adult child raised by a codependent mother will always seek the mother’s validation at every step. The validation from the parental codependency comes with strings attached and is based on conditions, making the child take validations throughout his life generally in unhealthy ways.  


Coping Strategies for Children of Codependent Mothers

Codependency is a learned behavior or we can call it a survival strategy that leads to a dysfunctional relationship where one person continuously relies on the other for the sense of self-worth. 

Children raised by codependent mothers can apply a few coping strategies that can help them set healthy boundaries and create a sense of self-esteem. 


The first step is to know what codependency is and how it can affect your life. Without learning about the behavior, you won’t be able to help yourself from parental codependency. 

Create Boundaries 

Creating healthy boundaries is one of the crucial coping strategies that can bring everything under the limit, even the control of a parent. Learn to prioritize your needs and learn to say no to things that you are not comfortable doing.

Detach with Love

This phrase is used in the context of codependency and addiction. This means you still love someone and do not get emotionally and psychologically attached to them. Maintain care and compassion with your mother while detaching yourself emotionally. This also includes caring about your mental and physical well-being. 

Learn to make Decisions

Learn to be independent and make your own decisions. Take on the responsibilities that need your judgment and trust your abilities. 

Set Realistic Expectations

Learn the behaviour of your codependent mother and that you will not change it. Learn to control your own choices and behavior to maintain a healthy relationship with your mother. 

Focus on Personal Growth

Personal growth is important and that can only happen when you are out of the codependency relation. Set goals, rise above rejection, pursue your interests, and develop an identity that is separate from parental codependency. 

Seek Professional Guidance or Counseling

A professional might help you overcome the effects of parental codependency. Learn the coping strategies for your well-being and help you maintain a healthy relationship.  


Breaking the Cycle of Codependency in Mothers

Planning to break the cycle of codependency? First, learn and accept your problem and then learn to parent differently. Breaking the cycle of codependency is transforming yourself creating healthy boundaries, healthy relations, and focusing on the personal growth and growth of your children. 

Let’s dive into how you can break the cycle of codependency:

  • If you are a codependent parent, learning about your behavior and its side effects on your children is the crucial step in the transformative journey. 
  • Work on your interests and aspirations.
  • Allow your child to solve their own challenges. Help them, support them but don’t overdo it for them.
  • Give importance to your child’s discussion. Let them communicate with ease.
  • Value your child’s emotions. Make them express it openly without any discomfort.
  • Keep a realistic relationship with your child. Your child is a human and has his own life and interests. Let them live their way. 
  • Praise children for the efforts they make. Be happy for them and support them when needed without making them dependent on you.
  • Show unconditional love so they also love without placing any conditions.
  • Spend quality time together with the kids to make them feel loved and wanted. 



So now you are aware of what codependency is and how codependent mothers create trouble in their children’s lives. Healing from codependency is not easy but by applying a few coping strategies you can overcome your traumas and change your life for good. If you are a codependent mother you can transform yourself to stop the cycle and not let this pass down to your children. 

Maintaining healthy boundaries in relations is essential, so develop a relationship that has certain limits. If you have a codependent mother, learn the coping strategies and help maintain healthy boundaries for the well-being of yourself. Self-care is a need and is important for your growth and healthy life.  

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