Can't Get Away
February 22, 2010 10:33 AM Subscribe
I've become enmeshed in my parent's problems to the extent I feel it's holding me back in life. How to get out? (Long)
posted by anonymous to human relations (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
To begin, I'm an unmarried male age 31 living in the Midwest. I'm originally from the Indian Subcontinent, but came here at a young age.
Since I was 13 or so, there have been times when I was left in charge of the household because one or both of my parents left us for an extended time. With my dad, it was because of work, and with my mom, it was due to her (then undiagnosed) bipolar disorder.
I have the unfortunate trait of wanting to be responsible and feel the need now, as I did before, to step in and help when no one else can or wants to. It caused me to have to take care of my sisters when I was 13, 15 and 18. The last time I was left alone while my sisters were in high school, I was a college freshman, and it almost destroyed me. I was left to take care of their welfare for 6 months.
After that, my mom's bipolar was diagnosed and she began taking meds. But, since my dad was working overseas, I was still expected to take care of whatever my dad would have taken care of had he been here. My parents got me to do this by taking advantage of my nature and outright guilt trips.
After my dad returned, I was able to get back to life. Then, my mom found out about my dad having an affair, which threw things back into craziness. I'd get all sorts of upsetting calls from her about what my dad was up to. My dad would also try to justify himself.
Fast forward to today. I'm currently in therapy for depression. My parents are again living overseas, and have left me to take care of their house. So, I have to live here, pay their bills for them, and basically stay in a city I don't want to anymore. I want to move away, but the overwhelming guilt I feel when I think of leaving things and disappointing them is too much to bear.
I'm talking with my therapist about this, but I just want to see if any of you who may have gone through similar stuff might be able to offer help.
For more questions, you can email me at tiedtofamily at gmail.