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Is my GF under the spell of a Co-Dependendant mother?


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Six months ago I began dating a 30 year old woman.  She is an aspiring pop singer who supports herself by being a DJ.   I used to work as a music manager and producer, and in fact, worked with the top recording artist from her native Russia.  I began helping her with her music with us at first being friends and then I fell in love with her and she says she fell in love with me.  We spend many hours a week together, working together and having fun together. I spend several nights a week at her place, in part because she does not have a car (nor know how to drive) and in part because we record at her studio apartment. 

She tells me her Mom is flying in from Moscow to visit her.  Now she has told me about her childhood, stating she had a father who was a raging alcoholic who used to physically abuse her (punch her, etc.) and who also was sexually inappropriate; come into the bathroom while she is in the shower, open her bedroom door in the morning while she was getting dressed, stare at her boobs and comment on them, grab her crotch, etc.  From what I can tell, her Mother did little to protect Her from this.  She would tell me her mother would actual nag him while he was drunk, which caused my GF more apprehension as she feared her mother would push him too far.

In addition, growing up she was told she was repeatedly told she was “stupid”, “***” and told she would not make it as singer and negative remarks about her appearance, etc.

Being the nice BF, I offered to drive to the airport (45 minute drive) to pick up her Mother.  Prior to her Mother arriving I go to Costco and purchase $150 worth of food with my money so there is food in my GF’s place when her Mother arrives. My GF says thank you and that she was stressing about getting food.

With my GF, we pick up her Mother at the airport. On the way bac, we stop by a car show in a pretty beachside community where we walk around for about an hour before I drive them home.

The next day my GF, her mother and I are having lunch. They say they want to go to Beverly Hills to walk around. I have met them for lunch on my electric bike. They say the Uber will take 20 minutes to reach them and cost $20. So I offer to go home (10 minutes away) and drive them. I then go home, come back, and drive them both to Beverly Hills.  Later that night (9:00 pm) they say they are done and I drive to pick them up and drive them to my GF’s studio which is 25 minutes away.

The next day, per my GF’s request, she wants me to drive her and her Mom to a hiking trail with a waterfall.  From my place it is an hour drive.  To do this I have to stop my work on a weekday around 10:00 a.m.  I then have to ride my E-bike to her place where I left my four door car (it has an automatic and I use it to teach GF how to drive so I have left it at her place.)

I ride my bike 6 miles and per her request I bring with me three bottles of water for the hike. I also buy two pints of Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream as I know they like ice cream. This is not for the trip but for their freezer.

Now a few days earlier my GF stepped on a Bee and was stung on her toe.  Before I leave my home she calls me and says she thinks she should go to the ER as the foot still bothers her.  Now she has told me her mother is a doctor in Russia but that she works for drug company Eli Lilly but not as a physician treating patients.

So notwithstanding the fact her mother is supposedly a physician (albeit not practicing) my GF is talking about going to the ER!    

I was a life guard in college and trained in first aid, plus I have googled Bee stings.  So when I arrive at her apartment I ask my GF to show me her foot. 

The moment I say this the Mother snaps:  “DON’T LOOK AT HER FOOT.  I ALREADY LOOKED AT IT.”

I am totally caught off guard by this command.  I’m thinking to myself, surely this woman knows I have seen far more than my GF’s toe!

My GF in a hushed voice says “mom” and proceeds to take off her sock and shoe.  (She claims speaking under her breath she said something like its okay for him to look at my foot but I did not hear this.)

I look at her foot and see the top of her foot near the toe has minor swelling and is red with irritation.  She tells me she wants to do the hike and we can go to urgent care after the hike. 

Having been a runner and hiker, I then state, “let’s put some Vaseline on your foot to avoid your skin being irritated as this is a 4.5 to 5 mile hike.”

Immediately the mother snaps at me:  “DON’T PUT VASELINE ON HER FOOT!”  She is visibly angry.

I am again surprised by this woman making commands.  I am an adult and a practicing attorney and this woman is making orders like my GF is a five year old and I am some stranger on the street who wants to put Vaseline on her little girl’s foot!

I explain this is what hikers and runners do. I then pull up a Podiatrist’s website (i.e., a medical foot expert) that states to avoid chaffing and skin irritation on a hike to use Vaseline. So now I have documented proof that my suggestion of putting Vaseline on is a medically approved thing to do.

Because I am disagreeing with her and wanting to put the Vaseline on my GF’s foot, which my GF had not objected to, the mother snaps how she is a “doctor” and proclaims “He does not respect me” and “I am not getting in a car with him.”

Now the day before the Mother had said chickens lay eggs because they are fertilized and that fertilization is what causes the chicken to lay eggs.  I said “I think” chickens lay eggs regardless of whether they are fertilized or not.  Later that day I googled this and confirmed what I was taught as a child:  Chickens lay eggs and ferritization is irrelevant.  The Mother, the “doctor” was wrong on a basic biology fact.

Now the Mother is wrong when she says we should not use Vaseline as the Podiatrist website clearly says this is what should be done to avoid further irritation.

After this woman has now twice been rude and disrespectful (demanding I not look at my GF’s foot and that I not put Vaseline on my GF’s foot and when my GF is okay with it), I state she maybe a doctor in Russia but she is not a doctor in the United States.  I explain how under the law it is illegal for people, even those who may have medical degrees from foreign countries, to even diagnose or treat people and claim they are a physician if they are not licensed.  And that the reason for this is to be a physician in the a foreign country is no guarantee they meet the standards required to practice medicine in the U.S.

I then note the mother does not work as a physician. I even ask her when was the last time she treated a patient: She responds by stating “what does that matter.”

Now the real trouble starts!  My GF starts to argue with me to support her Mother!  The Mother says she will not go with me in the car.

I go to leave.  My GF follows me to the garage. We talk for an hour…because my GF is entirely justifying her Mother’s actions!  Its like listening to someone under a spell who is detached from reality.

She says I have to respect her mother and I can’t say anything to her bad about her mother.  I say it was your mother who was repeatedly rude and disrespectful to me and I simply defended myself….and that if your Mother was such a great doctor why after you being with her are you wanting to go the ER?

A couple of days later my GF is DJ’ing a local hotel lounge and I stop by that evening to say hello.  We talk for fifteen minutes and she says her Mother is in the bathroom, that she will bring her out and says, “will you be nice” and I say “of course.”

Her mother arrives and I smile and say “hello.”

The mother responds angrily!  “He can’t be here. I don’t want him here. He needs to leave.”  My GF tries to calm her mother down but its clear she’s on her mother’s side.  I have dated her for six months and now its like she’s a totally different person who doesn’t know me.

The GF now has the position that it was me who was rude and disrespectful.  Its as though she didn’t witness what occurred, with her Mother being the protagonist who was rude and disrespectful.  My GF breaks off our relationship, personal and professional—which is really stunning because at her age its nearly impossible to become a pop star yet I was, for the first time in her career, really moving her forward.

She blames me. Her Mother is apparently blameless. I try and talk to my GF rationally, even citing relationship articles, etc., but its like I am talking to a robot.  She is a totally different person with her mother here—one seemingly detached from reality.

What should I do?  I do love the person she was before her Mother arrived. (While the father and her younger brother remained on vacation in Bulgaria.)  Is she co-dependent with her mother? Seeking her Mother’s approval from childhood scars?  Is there any hope here?

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The entire situation screams two words: "dysfunctional" and "toxic".  

Don't even  bother trying to analyze these people. Her childhood is not your problem.  In fact she sounds quite unhinged, as does her mother. 

Have nothing further to do with her.  Let her find her own way.  Once again I quote: "No good deed goes unpunished".  And you are living the proof of that.

Let her find her own PAID music manager/producer.  She is 30 years old, an adult and not helpless.  It is not your job to teach adults anything. Let her take paid driving lessons. I am sure there areplenty of driving schools around.

You need to look at why you swing into this OTT caretaker and "helper" mode.

In fact it is a blessing in disguise that "Mommy dearest" came over from Russia, as now you have a clear view of what these people are really like.

You will find a grown-up, stable and non-hysterical woman in due course.

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45 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

My GF breaks off our relationship, personal and professional

Sorry this happened. Unfortunately getting in pissing contests with the mother about Vaseline and chickens was unnecessary.

It doesn't matter if the mother is right/wrong, etc. Your Gf knows you 28 weeks and she believes you were rude to the mother, so?

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22 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

Is there any hope here?

Nah. People who are codependent rarely change. Even if her mom isnt with you, imagine a future with that person. If you want to marry her would she reject proposal because mommy doesnt approve? Would mom come to wedding if she says "yes"? There is lifetime of issues there even if she wouldnt be. 

I would also like to ask why so much "pampering"? Some of the stuff you described, you go waaaaaay overboard with it. You literally bend over backwards for her and her every request is granted. Which would maybe be fine if other person knows how to appreciate it and returns it. But from your story its completely one-sided.

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Hello and thank you all for taking the time to read my situation and make thoughtful comments.  Much appreciated. 

Frankly, it has been so hurtful because its as though the person I fell in love with over these last six months, the person I thought would be my partner, the person with whom I have now so many memories, seemingly turned into an entirely different person when her mother arrived. It's like she went, overnight, from my lover to my adversary.   Where's the woman I fell in love with?  What happened to her?

I suppose matters of the heart, where you love someone, are difficult, even when the brain sees what the heart does not want to see. 

I have taken to heart (and mind) all of your comments.  Thank you all.

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If there was ever a perfect example of right fighting to lose, this is it.

It's actually hard to believe that you went online to do research just to prove her mother wrong and then went on a rant about her abilities as a doctor and how she doesn't meet US standards, etc. Like how on earth did you think that was going to go down? They'll be in awe of your greatness?

Dude, you let your ego run you over. She was right to dump you. The mother here is pretty much irrelevant given how unhinged and tone death your own behavior is.

Also, you were treating an adult woman like she is your 5 year old kid. If she wants to go to the ER, that's on her and not your business. If her mother doesn't want you looking at her foot, again common sense should dictate that you should step back and leave them to it even if it is strange to you. You need to learn when to step back and leave people to make their own decisions and not play daddy/chauffeur to your gf.

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12 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

seemingly turned into an entirely different person when her mother arrived.

Well, now you know the real her.  She didn't turn into anything. It's how she always was. Dearest Mommy simply brought it to the fore. 

The parents sound like real gems. But, again, not your problem OP.

 

1 hour ago, JimStewart said:

growing up she was told she was repeatedly told she was “stupid”, “***” and told she would not make it as singer and negative remarks about her appearance, etc.

Next time round, OP, do not "enmesh".  Enmeshment is very different from engaging with someone. There is nothing wrong with helping someone out now and then, but never ever (at your peril) take them on as a project. 

Best of luck going forward. 

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Yeah. The mom is toxic and your gf hasn't worked on this or healed yet. She's in this toxic dynamic, and until she gets the therapy and treatments she needs, it shall remain as so.

So you let go.

You're not her therapist. You can't be. This is who she is now, and you've come to know it because her mom is here. It's a blessing in disguise.

You live and you learn.

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32 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

Hello and thank you all for taking the time to read my situation and make thoughtful comments.  Much appreciated. 

Frankly, it has been so hurtful because its as though the person I fell in love with over these last six months, the person I thought would be my partner, the person with whom I have now so many memories, seemingly turned into an entirely different person when her mother arrived. It's like she went, overnight, from my lover to my adversary.   Where's the woman I fell in love with?  What happened to her?

I suppose matters of the heart, where you love someone, are difficult, even when the brain sees what the heart does not want to see. 

I have taken to heart (and mind) all of your comments.  Thank you all.

No she didn't change over night...she has been the same person all this time...you just didn't see it. She has had people tell her what to do all her life. You do the same to her. Pulling up things off the net to make your case, to set her straight. You helping her out, staying at her place because she doesn't drive, you buy food, etc. like the other poster pointed out, she's never had an independent leg to stand on.

And another reality is if you don't make it by 27, your chances of getting a career in music is minimal especially for a woman. you are right, your heart has blinded you. I hope you spend some time reassessing your investment here.

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Why did you insert herself in all of their plans? Its nice to meet her and mom for lunch, but you were way too involved with the visit.

Also, who cares if someone has a different way of dealing with a very minor injury than you?  vaseline wouldn't kill her.  I would have just stayed out of it.

I explain how under the law it is illegal for people, even those who may have medical degrees from foreign countries, to even diagnose or treat people and claim they are a physician if they are not licensed.  And that the reason for this is to be a physician in the a foreign country is no guarantee they meet the standards required to practice medicine in the U.S.

If you were dating my niece, I would say you came off as a know it all or bit of a jerk "correcting" me - thinking i intend to practice as a doctor in the US.  Every mother in the world puts bandaids on their kids and aren't doctors.  She could worry how you talk to her daughter in private and could be getting a bit protective of her and snappy.  And who cares if she doesn't understand chickens? its a pick your battles thing.   People have different home remedies in different countries and your girlfriend's foot would not have fallen off if Vaseline was on it.  In fact, i had a scar revision and guest what part of the after care was?  Applying vaseline and a bandaid to keep it moist and covered.

So it goes both ways.  Mom has equal worry that she will end up with a guy like her father equally to you being preoccupied with mom being codependent or not. Also keep in mind women in other countries don't have the same ability to just leave a husband or protect their kids like you would imagine. And mom might not have known everything

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Not that you made any major decisions like moving in together or marriage, this is why it's important not to until you've known a person at least a year. Because yes, it takes time to learn about a person, instead of assuming you know every aspect of a person during the honeymoon period.

And if she never received psychiatric care for past trauma, it's a good assumption all of that would negatively come in to play to upset your relationship given more time.

I think you acted like a doormat, leaving work to make their vacation plans easier. And $150 for groceries to me was too much after only dating half a year. It's like you're overcompensating. Do you lack self-worth and feel those gifts are necessary for any partner to give you the time of day? Learn what's appropriate. Perhaps the gift of a cake or a fruit platter would've been reasonable. Instead of taking time off of work, you could've suggested on your day off to do something with them, but if you thought an hour drive would be too costly for gas, you could've proposed an alternative.

At age 30, if she can't feed her own mother who is visiting, that's her problem. If you have a rescuing mentality, those sorts of relationships are never satisfactory. You hurt yourself and wind up with someone who is broken and can't be fixed by a layperson. That's a psychiatrist's job and a person needs to learn to help themselves.

I suggest working on your self worth before attempting to date again.

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I think you went over the top taking time off from work, being their chauffer, buying all those groceries because you're trying to impress, to be "perfect" -not from a place of confidence.  I think you liked that whole "aspiring pop singer" deal because you could be the wise name-dropping "hero" and help her with her "career" - she sounds like my friend's daughter who told me, about 20 years ago -her career dream was to be a Brittany Spears back up dancer.  But she was 13 at the time.  You seem to want accolades for jumping through hoops to please her -a woman you only knew for 6 months - and felt displaced by her mom.  I agree with the others that she was always this way but you chose the ignorance is bliss route.  I'm sorry this is not working out- it must be disappointing!

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Who in the world who lives in Cali, doesn't have a car.  That's like the law 🤣  Sorry for that, but it needed to be said.

To the serious part...your girl was raised by abusive parents.  That woman is a complete narcissist and is doing what she can to break you both up.  You could be Channing Tatum, and she's still try to isolate her from you.  If your girl can't see this, and isn't taking your side, I'm sorry, she's not the right partner for you.

Nothing you can do if the other person doesn't want it.  Getting out from under that person's thumb.  Sorry, but this is why it really takes a while to see what people are like, whether through loss, great days, family, on vacations, when you're sick, when they are sick, etc.

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3 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I think you went over the top taking time off from work, being their chauffer, buying all those groceries because you're trying to impress, to be "perfect" -not from a place of confidence.  ...  I agree with the others that she was always this way but you chose the ignorance is bliss route.  I'm sorry this is not working out- it must be disappointing!

Hello and thank you for your comments.  I will share with you this was not coming from a place of lack of confidence.  I went shopping for my GF for a couple of reasons. First, she does not have a car so large shopping trips are more difficult for her. Second, due to Covid 19 she did not work for a year and her financial resources were stretched.  Third, I love her and wanted to help make her life easier as I was already at Costco and I thought about her.  And she did thank me stating she had been stressing about stocking up on food before her mother arrived.  I wanted to help her with her career just as I would want to help any GF with their career if I could, regardless of the nature of the career.  I did not want accolades.  What I did not want was to be treated rudely and disrespectfully by her mother and then when I tried to defend myself for my GF to act as though I was the one who initiated the rude and disrespectful behavior.

You are correct.  This is very disappointing. I invested six months into the relationship and developed strong feelings for this woman as we spent so much time together building memories, and to watch it disintegrate almost instantly is heartbreaking.

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I agree with what has been posted here. There are times you just need to bite your tongue instead of fight to be right. And to know that even tho you feel you are doing the right thing, you are enabling. Have to learn to draw the line and say no. You were taken for granted.

Edited by smackie9
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16 minutes ago, Andrina said:

At age 30, if she can't feed her own mother who is visiting, that's her problem. If you have a rescuing mentality, those sorts of relationships are never satisfactory. You hurt yourself and wind up with someone who is broken and can't be fixed by a layperson. That's a psychiatrist's job and a person needs to learn to help themselves.

I suggest working on your self worth before attempting to date again.

I full agree Andrina.  Being overly helpful and going overboard as you did OP, is never a good idea. 

And I have to agree with this too. Mommy dearest is a right wagon!  

10 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

That woman is a complete narcissist and is doing what she can to break you both up.

All that said, again I agree with Andrina. 

20 minutes ago, Andrina said:

Learn what's appropriate. Perhaps the gift of a cake or a fruit platter would've been reasonable

 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, abitbroken said:

Why did you insert herself in all of their plans? Its nice to meet her and mom for lunch, but you were way too involved with the visit.

Also, who cares if someone has a different way of dealing with a very minor injury than you?  vaseline wouldn't kill her.  I would have just stayed out of it.

 

Hello and thank you for your comments. I think you may have misunderstood a couple of points. I did not insert myself into their plans. It was the opposite.  My GF wanted to take her mother on a hike that was about an hour from my home (45 minutes from my GF's home) and so my GF asked me to come, to be part of the experience, but also because I have a car and she does not and the mother did not rent one upon her arrival.  I did not insert myself, my GF inserted me into the plans.

As for the Vaseline, that was my suggestion when my GF said her foot hurt from the bee sting irrigation.  The suggestion was based years of running and hiking where hikers/runners use vaseline to avoid skin irritation and supported by Podiatrist website advise.  The goal was to help my GF who was about to embark on a 4.5-5.0 mile hike with a bad foot and this was after my GF asked for my help regarding her foot earlier that same morning.

Edited by JimStewart
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

I full agree Andrina.  Being overly helpful and going overboard as you did OP, is never a good idea. 

And I have to agree with this too. Mommy dearest is a right wagon!  

All that said, again I agree with Andrina. 

 

Thank you LaHermes. Your first post here was very helpful on all points. I really appreciate you taking the time to discuss this and share with me your insight. (Your other posts have been helpful as well.)  Truly appreciated.

Edited by JimStewart
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7 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

I wanted to help her with her career just as I would want to help any GF with their career if I could, regardless of the nature of the career.

Wrong OP!  Never ever again will you "help" any GF with her career. Not your job. Not!  An adult woman is well able to progress her own career, no matter what that career is. That is the job of trainers, coaches, in-house facilitators, you name it. 

Next. Again not your problem. Gee, you are not her Dad.  

11 minutes ago, JimStewart said:

due to Covid 19 she did not work for a year and her financial resources were stretched.

Truly OP, and putting it kindly, you have got to stop this kind of thing.  Do not take on needy causes again. 

I agree Mommy was rude, very, and that is not your fault. 

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34 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Wrong OP!  Never ever again will you "help" any GF with her career. Not your job. Not!  An adult woman is well able to progress her own career, no matter what that career is. That is the job of trainers, coaches, in-house facilitators, you name it. 

Next. Again not your problem. Gee, you are not her Dad.  

Truly OP, and putting it kindly, you have got to stop this kind of thing.  Do not take on needy causes again. 

I agree Mommy was rude, very, and that is not your fault. 

Thank you LaHermes.  This is a big eye opening learning experience.  Thank you for your advice.

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I think you should have said no to the hike as it’s obvious they invited you because you have a vehicle - particularly since you had to work. I don’t drive and when I travel and mg husband is working - if it’s his business travel - I research places I can take my son that are walking  distance or a short Uber ride or public transportation accessible. 

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