Mother: Wende (64)
Daughter: Brianne (40)
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Wende is an opinionated, over the top, psychic-medium who has no issues confronting strangers, speaking her mind and controlling every aspect of her daughter’s life. As a five-time divorcee Wende has two children but it's no secret that Brianne is her favorite. Brianne loves having a mother who is clued in on every detail of her life: past, present and future. As a mother herself, Brianne understands what it means to have an unbreakable bond with a child. Brianne is a highly-skilled, nationally recognized medical addiction treatment expert who specializes in healing people with severe substance dependencies. Although she’s an expert at healing the pathologies of others, she’s blind to what others have deemed her own, “co-dependent,” relationship with her mother.
Wende didn’t have a close relationship with Brianne’s father, so much so, Brianne didn’t know who her father was until she was 12 years old. Mom, Wende didn’t want a man to interfere in her and Brianne’s life, so not only did Wende keep her father’s identity a secret but she also listed the father as “unknown” on the birth certificate so he couldn’t come looking for his daughter. Thus, it’s always been Wende and Brianne against the world. Especially, now….
Brianne's life fell apart when her husband who she supported financially and emotionally through medical school left her for a nurse at the hospital. For years Brianne was left in the dark surrounding the status and integrity of her marriage. She was confused by lies and secretive behavior, not to mention her husband was simply never around. What’s worse is that he not only abandoned Brianne, but also her three children: Tony (age 20 from a previous relationship) Aiden (10) and Asher (8). The divorce was ugly, cost nearly 100k and took nearly two years of Brianne’s life. In the midst of dealing with her divorce, Brianne was involved in a three-car pile-up which left her shaken and scared. For several months Brianne wasn’t able to walk or even sleep through the night. At this point Brianne was understandably despondent and felt hopeless and not sure where to turn. Enter mom. Wende could no longer sit on the sidelines. Her daughter was lost, suffering and directionless. She had to intervene and take control. The smothering fire was lit and it has been burning bright ever since.
Within a week, Wende forced the ex-husband to move out and Wende found an apartment for herself ten minutes from her daughter’s home. Wende saw that her daughter needed her and that she had no choice but to take charge and pick up the pieces of Brianne’s life. In order to do so, Wende retired from her career as a General Manager of several car dealerships. Though it's been hard on Wende to have to shift her focus in life from work to family, she felt like she had to double down on Brianne so that she could protect and care for her as well as her grandchildren.
Now, Wende dictates where Brianne works, what she wears, and must even get mom’s blessing if she wants to change her hairstyle. Brianne isn’t allowed Botox unless mom approves of the areas and units. Every vacation is the two of them together. Wende takes care of Brianne’s children. This is all to say, Wende refuses to allow her daughter to make a mistake, misstep or put herself in a position that she would ever be hurt or vulnerable. Although Brianne is a grown woman she welcomes mom’s insanely involved interference, and feels that she is really helping her in ways that she can’t help herself. Because Brianne has a demanding job, both her and Wende co-parent. Wende essentially acts as a stay at home mom, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children while Brianne is the provider and breadwinner of the family.
Wende arrives at Brianne's house every day before 7am to help Brianne get her kids out of the door for school. Wende also watches over while Brianne is getting ready for work. Wende instructs Brianne on how she should apply her make-up. Wende picks out Brianne's entire outfit for work - down to the shoes and accessories, every single day, without fail. Mom lovingly picks out each piece of clothing and lays it out on the bed and when Brianne is done with her shower, she doesn’t have to wonder what she’ll be wearing. Even when Wende leaves at night to go home, she is sure to call Brianne to get a full recap of what happens after she leaves.
Wende even has a say in Brianne’s love-life. Because Brianne is coming out of a traumatic divorce, she feels that she might never be able to fall in love, and in truth Brianne admits, “I’ve never met a man who loved me, I’ve never been in love.” Brianne would love to meet a man, but with Wende tracking her daughter’s every move, dating is nearly impossible. Brianne’s not even allowed a sex life! She prefers casual sex because she can have fun without the chance of getting hurt again. Brianne is forced to literally sneak men in and out of her house behind her mother’s back. A confusing feat for the men who are looking to be with a professional, grown woman in her 40’s. Wende will invoke her, "psychic ability" and make predictions about who Brianne is seeing behind her back. Brianne lies to her mom about the status of her sex life and it's a point of contention between the two because Wende gets anxious when she doesn't have complete control over who is in Brianne's life.
Wende and Brianne have been cultivating their intuitive, spiritual connection for over 20 years. The duo plans an annual trip to the psychic community of Lily Dale, in upstate New York every year. The town is a famous hub for spiritualists, mediums and psychics to gather and to share and cultivate their gifts. Brianne takes her kids to Lily Dale for "Children's Week" so they can learn how to give readings, see spirits, bend spoons and give healings. Brianne is an Addiction Medicine Practitioner and says that she has learned how to be a medical intuitive and her gift helps her treat patients on a spiritual level in addition to "conventional" medical practices. Brianne and Wende want to sell the house and buy a home in Lily Dale so that Brianne can open her own substance treatment facility in Lily Dale, her children will be able to grow their spiritual gifts, and Wende can find more work as a psychic medium. Lily Dale represents healing and a do-over for both Wende and Brianne.
· Wende won't let Brianne get her hair cut or colored unless Wende is there.
· Brianne and Wende co-parent Brianne’s children, cooking, cleaning, and essentially acting as a traditional husband and wife
· Wende dictates Brianne's Botox - what area on her face and the exact amount!
· Wende buys all of Brianne's clothes and picks out Brianne's outfits every day.
· Wende buys Brianne "granny panty" style underwear that suck in her "pooch"
· Brianne and Wende take all their vacations together.
· Wende will not let Brianne decorate her own home.
· Wende has called Brianne's supervisors when she gets in trouble at work and Wende chastises them for reprimanding her daughter!
· Wende will track where Brianne is at all times and show up unannounced to make sure she is where she is supposed to be.
· Wende gives Brianne a curfew if she decides to go out with a friend without her.
Brianne and Wende's smothering relationship is never smooth sailing. They are constantly bickering and fighting about anything and everything, and though Brianne tried to assert some control in her life, Wende always wins their arguments. Brianne has grown dependent on Wende's over-the-top obsession with her and her life. Wende feels like she is doing her job by being a "helicopter mom" to her 40-year-old daughter and her grandsons. Wende believes that she needs to keep tabs on every aspect of Brianne's life in order for Brianne to ever attain happiness. Brianne appreciates her mom, but does feel that she does need some distance in order for her to truly get back on her own two feet. Creating distance between a mom like Wende won’t be easy, but Brianne thinks it will be necessary if she’ll ever really find a man and a stable life.
· Halloween Disney Cruise (October 20th)
· Trip to Lily Dale to scout homes (Mid November)
· Tony wants to move to MA in February or March
· Family trip to Las Vegas in February