Shelley steers me to an antiseptic alcove and talks at me while I contemplate the bags of dinner cooling at my feet. She monologues about obesity, codependence, enabling, mortality. Finally, she asks if we have an agreement. I tell her we do not and head back to his room to feed him, clean him, oil him, turn him.
—- N. R. M. Roshak, SALT, SPICES, FAT, HONEY
Is there anything more frightening than toxic codependency? Today’s story is harrowing and depicts toxic codependency that has decended to Munchhausen by Proxy territory.
For a while I watched the television show Intervention – stopping when it became repetitive for me. There were two things that fascinated me especially – both of which are condensed into today’s flash fiction.
One was that the drug addicts (heroin, cocaine, crack, pills, booze, you name it) had a long, tough road – but there was hope. A good number of them got better. But the people with non-drug addictions (food, eating, not-eating, puking, exercise, gambling, shopping) were out of luck. I don’t remember any of them being successful at getting over their addiction.
What I really found interesting were the enablers. The addicts were ill, they were overcome with a sickness that most of them didn’t want. But every addict had someone that was keeping them sick. These were the people, the loved ones, that for their own (usually selfish or lazy or based on guilt) reasons gave in and allowed the downhill spiral to continue. And none of them even knew or could understand what they were doing and how evil and dangerous it was. The Interventionist would always zero in on these people and make sure they understood and would commit to ending their support for the illness. They were rarely successful in this.
But, in the story, there is horror, but there is love. Maybe that is the ultimate toxicity.
Read it here:
from Flash Fiction Online