I’m 33, still living at home and helping out. My mom, my younger brother, 21, my grandmother and uncle are all in poor health.
My grandmother’s demanding of my mother who’s had depression and anxiety for years. My uncle’s deaf and suffers from schizophrenia. My younger brother has substance abuse, issues with alcohol and marijuana, and possibly some anxiety and self-esteem issues.
I feel like I can’t make my own feelings known.
Sharing how all this affects me just makes things worse. My mom, who goes to work, says it’s worse for her. My brother says he’s listened to me but shows indifference.
On New Year’s Eve, Mom opened the alcohol which I knew was a bad idea. My brother had three glasses of wine within an hour. Mom kept saying he’ll stop.
Just before midnight things broke down. My brother only talks openly and honestly when drunk and then doesn’t stop.
He made some jokes about my work from home, apparently forgetting exactly what I do. It bothered me. Then he started crying and I felt like a failure.
Regardless of anything I do to bring our family together or talk to him or Mom about their issues, it ends up in conflict. Nothing changes.
I feel useless, disrespected and I finally shared that. I haven’t talked to him for a couple of days. Mom wants me to forgive him but I refused. I’ll talk to him when I’m ready.
I still live here because I know she needs help managing things, but seeing that my feelings aren’t worthy of being acknowledged is very upsetting.
I want to be there for them all, but is it selfish of me to want my feelings to not be dismissed?
I’ve had thoughts of moving out but it’d feel like I’m abandoning my mother within this situation.
Fed Up with Family
Your feelings matter far more than you believe, since you’re the family linchpin during an exceptionally difficult time.
Don’t underestimate how much everyone there realizes that reality.
But with anxieties about COVID-19 always present and the intensity of living through lockdowns plus their particular issues, each one’s self-absorbed.
You’re immensely helpful just by listening and helping where you can.
But you’ve taken on all these responsibilities for people too needy to not consider you the “lucky” one. Your Mom comes home from work to all their needs, too.
Reach outside the family for acknowledgement and support, through free mental health websites and/or online counselling to nurture your self-esteem about helping the others.
Also, visiting an Al-Anon meeting about how others handle relatives involved with substance abuse, might help your sibling relationship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the girlfriend who wouldn’t speak to her boyfriend after he refused to visit her in another city during the pandemic (Jan 2):
Reader – “The boyfriend wants to make sure that everyone’s safe but his girlfriend won’t speak to him or return emails because she wants him to jump on a plane to prove his love!
“Does this sound like a mature, loving young woman? Her passive aggressive-behavior won’t stop with a proposal and may lead to a life-long trend of him having to always give in.”
Reader #2 - from a Facebook post:
“Even the guys would be like, “Bro, if you wouldn’t risk your life to see the woman you want to marry, maybe she’d be better off with a man that would!”
Ellie - The boyfriend intended to marry her. The proposal, without the travel, would’ve “proved” his love.
My wife and I once separated for six months, but with effort, got back together. Our only child had physical issues and was in-and-out of hospitals for years.
She’s older and better now but it took a toll.
We now both work from home, and are mostly compatible. But sometimes I just want to do my own thing.
My wife has trouble with that, sulks and thinks there’s a relationship problem when all I want to do is go for a bike ride!
How do I tell her that her neediness is driving a wedge where there wasn’t one?
Needing ME Time
The past separation left a scar. Frame the idea of both doing a separate activity as WE time. You bike outside, she has an online fitness class. You snowshoe in a city park; she reads a book.
OR she bikes too, sometimes, so you aren’t looking like you just want to be away from her.
Tip of the day:
People who are always helping others sometimes need outside support/counselling.