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How do I leave my codependent mother?

Community Member

Hello, I’m 22, and currently I am living with my father who I do not speak to, my mother, my cat and myself in a small apartment.

My living situation is not great, my mother has been stuck with my father for many years and has plans to move out.

However, my mother is heavily relying on the fact that because she is not eligible for public housing (low-income housing), she wishes for only me to put my name down on the lease because I am eligible for public housing. Many of my therapists have told me she is codependent and I agree, she is incredibly against/cynical about the idea I will move out because she believes I don’t want to be responsible for her.

I don’t want my name on that lease however. My mother can be quite nasty when angry, when she does not get her way she does anything, she guilt trips etc. and I don’t want to have to be trapped in that home with her. I also, have plans to move out eventually and feel this is a way to stop me from doing that.

However, I cannot say no to putting my name on that lease, she does not take no for an answer, and she will be incredibly angry. I am afraid of what she will do if I deny her her escape from my father, because I know she will be mean to me about it.

My boyfriend tells me I should move into student housing, however I am afraid of the backlash I may get from that, I am afraid of what will happen and the anger I will receive from my mother seeing me as betraying her. So I am writing this in hopes someone will help me decide what is the safest option for me, what should I do if I am afraid of the anger I will receive? And which option is better?

1 Reply 1

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi CelestialSeth and welcome to the forums. I hope you find this a safe place to share anything that's troubling you and that you get some suggestions and support in your journey.

You're in a tough spot but I think you know what you need to do.

You may be "eligible for public housing" and your mother is not but not in the configuration your mother plans.
That is for you to pave HER escape plan.

I understand what she's asking / demanding is pretty much illegal. You can find this out and tell her you're not willing to commit a crime that could destroy your future, before you leave.

Your mother is not your responsibility.

At 22yo you ARE your responsibility.

I had an extremely abusive and controlling mother but have been No Contact for decades. It was by far the most difficult family relationship I've had. Cutting off from the enmeshment she created was extremely hard.
The Police made it physically easy in one fell swoop but emotionally and psychologically the feelings I had from then on for about 5-10y were hard.

I had no idea of the ramifications of calling the police that day but the alternative of staying in contact was NOT an option any more by that stage. I had tried EVERYTHING else. Her actions that day burnt that bridge - or blew it up figuratively speaking. I don't regret it for a nanosecond.

Tbh I would think about my plan first without telling mother. Line all your "ducks in a row" by organising your next place. Even move some things out bit by bit beforehand to a friend's place.
Then sit your mum down and tell her and leave relatively quickly.

You have to be as prepared as you can be for almost any eventuality here.

I'm sure your mother will react angrily and use every word possible to manipulate you eg saying you're abandoning her and possibly that you are cruel etc. She may keep up her attempts to manipulate you for many years. There are techniques & strategies you can learn to protect yourself from this moving forward.
Be resolute and as I said leave quickly.

This takes SO MUCH strength but I know your future self will thank you for making this move.