My mum has mental health problems, my parents are divorced, my stepmum just moved in this year and my mum started going out with this guy last year and never actually told us he was her boyfriend. It was like 'This is Peter kids!' and two weeks later they were snogging in front of us. No warning. Nothing.
Don't get me wrong. My family are NOT unsupportive. My dad and stepmum are awesome, and I get on well with my younger brothers. But it's still hard.
Because of mum's mental illness, there is on-and-off tension between her and my dad. I know lots and lots of divorced parents fight. But with this, it is SO unpredictable. Like, one day she'll be really nice and smiling and the next day she'll be all cold and horrible. Once, she banned him from ringing us when we were at her house and a few days later it was like nothing happened. Plus, I'm always terrified she'll cry. She used to do it a lot and now she's improved in terms of that, but the memories just won't go away.
Also, even though I really love my stepmum, having her living with us is difficult. The change has meant we all fight a bit more and our dad has less time for one-on-one with us kids, which I really miss, and need.
I'm really sorry that you're going through all of this. It sounds like it's really hard, but you're not alone. A lot of people, including myself have messed up family situations, and yes, it totally sucks. My mom also has a mental condition, she's a pathological liar and it has been suggested many times that she may be bipolar. My dad is emotionally retarded.. I'm not trying to be offensive using that, but that's exactly what I was told by a doctor, he doesn't understand social cues, and is completely blind to people's emotions. And they are definitely having a rocky time, and are soon to be divorced- they have each told me seperately that they will not be together much longer.
Yes, it completely sucks. I understand. And repressing your feelings definitely doesn't help, so if you need to vent, you should definitely do it.
Also, have you thought about talking to a counselor about this. Divorce and mental illness within a family can be just as tough on the kids as it is on the adults. I know the feeling of being put in between your parents, and it's awful. It's awful to feel like you're being forced to side with one or the other.
Maybe, I don't know how old your younger brothers are, but maybe it would help if you talked to them about it, if that's possible. Siblings, in this sort of situation, can often be the best source of support. I call my sister almost everyday to just talk about how irritating and distressing the situation is. Given, she is older than me, so I know she understands.
Also, and I know that you're afraid of your mom crying- I am too- know the feeling, but maybe you could sit down and have a discussion with your mom, or even with your dad about how it makes you feel when you are put in between them. I know, this is a really hard thing to do without upsetting someone- been there done that, but after many many many conversations, it can get through the tiniest bit...
Anyways, I have to go, but I completely understand, you are not alone. A lot of people have extremely messed up family situations, and it's very very hard. Families come with a lot of emotional attachments, and it definitely strikes a chord when those things are thrown out of wack.
You can most definitely vent here.
Posts: 401 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2007
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Thanks a lot for replying. I really appreciate it.
I see GP who I can talk to about my family situation, as well as a psychiatrist. So yeah, they know how tough it is.
I can't talk to my brothers. They are 12 and 6 and still very much dependent on my mum, so if I started to talk to them about how I was finding it hard, it wouldn't go down well. I know the older one sees my parents arguing just as much as I do, but he doesn't talk to me about it. He does to my parents a bit though, which is good.
My mum...well I guess you'd know. Maybe she'll listen one day but the next she won't. I make it a rule not to talk to her at all. There are times when I have and I've just ended up really hurt, so it's self-preservation.
Like I said, there was this time she banned my dad from ringing her house, and got mad at me when he rang, because I hadn't made the arrangments before and thus prevented him from ringing. I tried to tell her how it made me feel but she just told me that I wasn't sympathetic to her! BULL. I try so hard. Like, really, I was SO angry with her when she started going out with this guy, because she didn't tell us he was her boyfriend. I don't know, maybe it's stupid but I feel like if you're going to bring a change into your kids' lives you should tell them. And people have said 'Well maybe she didn't realise it would get that far.' But in that case she should've waited. And I really feel uncomfortable when they kiss in front of us, 'cause it's a reminder of the fact that you know, she didn't say anything. But I don't comment. I just leave it.
Plus, I got pretty mad when she told me she didn't want dad to ring. And she said to me 'I guess it's very painful for you to see me like this to dad but I have to do it. It's how I can deal with things right now' Or something like that. What was I supposed to say? I was so shocked.
I mean it's one thing that she does it without knowing how we feel but another that she does it when she does. So I said no, I was fine with it. Maybe it was wrong of me to say, but I didn't want her to see how much I was hurting. Somehow, that makes it worse. And she said something like 'Good.' She believed me! I mean, who would POSSIBLY be OK with their parents fighting? It's just ridiculous.
I was talking to my stepmum about it and she said I did the right thing. That it wasn't the time to go into how I was feeling.
I've talked to my stepmum and dad A LOT about all of it. We've been on a journey together. I don't want to sound corny, but it's true. I live with them most of the time out of choice, whereas my brothers spend equal time with both parents. They've been really supportive. We even joke about things which makes them seem less awful. But sometimes they drive me NUTS.
Like the other day, I was talking to my stepmum about depression, which I have at the moment. And I was saying how I thought it was usually caused by going through tough times. And she said it wasn't. And I was like, 'Oh OK, well mine was.' To which she replied that I probably would've got it anyway at this time in my life, that I'd been through tougher times and not been depressed.
This may or may not be true, and I'd've been happy to discuss it at another time but that was NOT it.
For a start, all this has gone on for about FOUR years. Am I just supposed to put up with it? Never go down? What the hell was with that? And secondly, well I don't know about anyone else, but I usually find that while I'm going through something, I don't feel all that bad, I just focus on getting through it. It's not till afterwards, when things have calmed down that I really feel the effects of everything. Thirdly, it's not just the single events that hurt, but the accumulation of everything, the emotional exhaustion. And lastly, it's not a particularly helpful thing to say to someone who is already doubting themselves. 'Oh no, you're screwed anyway.' I know it's not true, or that she meant that by it but that's what it sounded like.
But she tries her best, and I'm grateful that I can talk to her.
-------------------- Let your clarity define you... Posts: 25 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2008
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I understand, and it's a really hard thing to deal with.
I don't know how old you are, but well, there's a time when the older you are the harder it is, but eventually it becomes the older you are the easier it is... What I'm saying is, I'm 18 now, and the past 2 years have been particularly hard to deal with, but when you go away to university, it gets a lot easier. My sister doesn't have such a hard time with it anymore because she can deal with everyone seperately on her own time. SO, even if things dont change, that doesnt mean you're screwed.
Maybe talking to your 12 year old brother wouldn't be such a bad thing. He may not understand exactly how you feel, but he probably is also feeling some of it. Younger kids tend not to really "pick sides"- not that you are doing that, but you obviously feel a little better around your dad than your mom. A lot of younger kids sometimes aren't as open about how they feel either... Maybe you don't even have to talk to him about how you feel, you can ask him how he feels and then gauge whether or not you wanna continue talking.
And, I wouldn't say that stressful or hard times CAUSE depression, but in many many many cases, they bring out depression when someone is already genetically predisposed.
I gotta go, but you can keep venting if you'd like.
Posts: 401 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2007
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Things are still crap. Mum has now banned my dad and step-mum from coming anywhere near her. If they ring, she hangs up on them, and then leaves the phone off the hook so that they can't ring again.
But she rings their house.
And she gets mad at me if they ring. Like it's my fault. It's got to the point where I'm scared of ringing them. There was a period of time when they had no idea where we were because the phone was off the hook so they couldn't contact us. We weren't ringing them because we were so busy.
I hate it. And I feel so lonely. I just found out that my friends are going to someone's house and I wasn't invited. It makes me feel so unclean and unworthy.
Posts: 25 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2008
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