help me with my INSANE family problems

First, a little info on my family and friends:
I live with: Mom
Stepdad(Dave)
5 year old brother (Isaac)
7 year old brother (Jarod)
I’m 17
my SO’s name is Dan

OK, Here we go!!

My stepdad works alot and isnt home all that much. in the morning before work he works out so he isn’t even home then. My mom is a house wife. Isaac is in school till noon. So long story short, Mom spends ALOT of time with the kids. And that would be all well and good, if they weren’t psycho. Me, mom, and the kids teachers think they have add or the like. they are incredibly hyper active and can get very physical. Jarod bit my mom so badly once she had to get stitches and a tetnus<sp?> shot. Dave still maintains they are fine.
My mom is not very mentally stable. She’s been diagnosed with panic disorder and depression, for which she is on meds, but doesnt always take them. My stepdad maintains she is fine.
I have been diagnosed with panic disorder, depression, and a couple phobias. I was hospitalized after 2 suicide attemtps and a drug addiction last year(i just celbrated a year of sobriaty in april).
Dave maintains I am still fine.
My theory on why he does this is becuase he is a doctor and ashamed that his family has some major problems.
So Dave is never home, and when he is, he does more harm then good, namely to mom. He doesnt emotionally support her, and when she tells him she’s feeling depressed or needs help with kids or is feeling SUICIDAL he says, “just deal with it.”
So where I’m getting at is i have to step into some roles that i shouldn’t have to. I take care of the kids WAY MORE than i should. I have to make sure mom takes her meds, and i have to call her from school every day, usually once every hour, to make sure she’s alright. I’ve have to miss school, and have to go home from school alot when the kids are too much for her, or she’s feeling very out of it. I am very much being HER mom much of the time.
Needless to say, this is causeing me a great deal of stress. About every other weekend, i sleep over at dan’s house as to get a break from my family.
Usually i can handle this, but it has gotten very bad in the past couple months. Thursday i had a mental breakdown in school from all the stress. I recently had a teacher and a puppy die. I spent most of the day with the school psychologist and whent to dan’s that night.
Now here is where i need your help. things are not going to change. more than 5 docs. teachers and psychologist have told my parents that things need to change and alas, they havn’t.
I need to figure out how to cope with this. it has gotten to the point were i’m not sure what i’m going to do about college. it has been my dream to go to colarado, but my mom repeatedly says, “what the hell is going to happen to me when your gone?” and the fact is, thats my big concern.
so anyways… HELP!!!

You are way out of your depth when you try to deal with your Mom’s problems. If she is suicidal, call 911. I’m not kidding. She is a grown woman who knows how to hire a babysitter if she needs one to get a break from the hyperactve kids.

Clearly you are being deeply affected by the family pathology. If you can move in with your Dad, I would suggest you do it. If your Mom didn’t have you to enable her, maybe she would be forced to take steps to improve her situation. Or maybe she would find someone else to enable her. In any case, you would be out of the madness.

Save yourself. You are not doing well in this situation. If you can’t bring yourself to move in with Dad, at least go to college as planned. Your Mom is sick and is making you sick too. Give her referrals to places she can get the help she needs and then STEP BACK.

Do not make sure she takes her meds.
Do not call her from school to see if she’s OK.
Do not leave school in the middle of the day to help take care of the kids.

And, once more for emphasis - IF SHE SAYS SHE FEELS SUICIDAL CALL 911.

{{{sandalfeet}}}
OK, kiddo, here goes my best shot. I’m not a professional, just a woman who has been through depressive hell and is still dealing with it as best she can. I also have some wonderful friends and a very good therapist who’ve been helping me a lot recently.

Your situation is abusive. You’re being called on to take responsibility for things you are not equipped to handle, specifically by taking care of your mother. Check with your local branch or branches of Adult Children of Alchoholics, not to mention Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics. They should provide valuable support. Even if neither your mother, your father, nor your stepfather is an alcoholic, to the best of my knowledge, the issues you’re dealing with are the same as children of alcoholics are and they should be able to help. One of the wonderful friends I mentioned has been doing a lot of work with her issues in her ACOA groups, and it does help. Also, if you’re worried about religious issues, groups vary. Said wonderful friend is a Wiccan but is in a pagan-friendly group. Keep looking until you find one. Get therapy if you can; I’ll understand if you can’t (my family didn’t believe in it or get help for me despite 3 suicide attempts and one very public confession when I was a teenager).

Don’t give up on your plans for college. You’ll have a lot of valuable resources available to you as well as finding a whole new world. Also, if you’re in touch with your father and you think he might be willing and able to help, talk to him, but only if it won’t turn into a “your mother is an awful person” type of conversation.

Finally, this got lost during the great thread purge, but back in January, I started a depression support groupCecil’s Place for people on this board. We’re not exactly jumping with activity (ok, our last post was April 22nd), but I am here for you. You can also e-mail me if you need to. My e-mail address should be in my profile. If not, post back here and let me know.

Take care,
CJ

First thing: Do NOT feel guilty. What is going on in your family is NOT your fault. I’m sorry that your mom can’t cope–but that is not your fault, nor your responsibility to take over for her.

ejrn is right. You are in a situation where you really have to put your own health first. I know you worry about your mom, but she must, at some point, take responsibility for her life. She is allowing you to carry her, and that’s terribly unfair to you.

CJ is also right. (Why am I even posting? Because you need moral support, at the very least.) Your home life is chaotic and abusive. No matter how mature you may be (and it sounds like you are very mature and caring), you are being stuck in roles that should be delegated to the adults in your family.

They’ve come to rely on you in those roles, and you will have to be very strong and BREAK OUT of them. Do just what [ejrn] suggested: If you mom makes a suicide threat, call 911. Tell the doctors everything–her history of suicide threats, the fact that you have to check on her every hour, all of it. In effect, you will be removing yourself from the responsibility she’s trying to place on you.

If you can get out, do it. Go live with another relative if you can, or a friend.

And remember this: I don’t want to sound trite here, but it’s true: this stage of your life really does end. I worked with teenagers for several years, many of them with horrendous home lives, and I know (from my own experience, too) how easy it is to lose sight of the fact that these years really do come to an end. Eventually, even if you don’t move out now, you’ll graduate and be off to college or wherever your life takes you next. All you have to do is take care of yourself in the meantime. Don’t let this make YOU unhealthy–you CAN come out of this a strong, healthy person.

Email me anytime, or IM me if you need to. I’m usually around. And keep us posted, okay?
{{{sandalfeet}}}

getting in contact with my biological father is definatly NOT an option. He’s an abusive alchoholic. I havnt had contact with him since 6th grade. He is currently phone stalking us.
I’ve seen several therapist over the years. I havn’t seen one for about 9 or 10 months. setting up appointments eventually became impossible, and my therepist felt i was doing ok on my own. I am currently seeing a therpist at school 2 times a week.
a couple days ago my stepdad anounced that he applied for a 2 year position in washington DC.There is no way i am moving. I’ve discussed it with mom and if dave gets the job, i’m going to live with dan.
Last night dave and mom started fighting pretty bad about thier marrige, and dave putting mom down. I think I’m going to dan’s tonight. Not sure though.

You and your mother both definitely need to be seeing a therapist on a regular basis. If someone has multiple mental health diagnoses (panic disorder, depression, history of suicide attempts), medication alone is not enough. All the studies I’ve seen say that medication plus therapy has better success rates. Furthermore, you are a minor. You need a responsible adult to lean on, to give you advice, and to give you access to resources you may need. I know going to a therapist is inconvenient, but it’s important for your current mental health and your future.

I would also recommend trying to talk your mom and stepdad into taking everyone to family therapy. I think that the best chance for improvement in this situation is to get stepdad (the one with the fewest problems) to end his denial and begin making a more positive contribution to the family. You could even try suggesting it for the sake of you, your mom, and (maybe, if he’s open to the possibility) your brothers. I think if you could get him into a family therapy situation, it’s more likely that he’ll see he needs to make changes too.

I wish you the best of luck. My own family situation at that age was not quite so desperate, but I do remember the feeling that I was the only one keeping the family from flying apart. I learned the truth when I went away to college–they were never going to get better unless they wanted to, and I couldn’t make them want to. My first responsibility was to take care of myself and my problems. Seven years later, with time, distance, and a lot of work on my own emotional problems, I’m in a much better place and my relationship with my screwed-up parents is much better. Yes, they’re still screwed-up, but they take care of themselves. The truth was that I wasn’t really holding the family together the way I thought–I was just one more dysfunctional part of a dysfunctional whole.

I know how scary it can be to walk away from a situation in which a loved one is sometimes on the verge of suicide (my mom came very close once). You can still be supportive of her from afar. In fact, maybe you can offer her a healthier kind of support–love and compassion and understanding and a friendly ear, without being her “keeper”. You have your whole life ahead of you, and the only person you can fix is you. I urge you to go to college, enjoy the distance and the new perspective, and take care of yourself.

Best wishes. I truly hope you’re able to come to a good resolution for you and your family.

I grew up in a similar household, I’m 43, and I still feel echoes of it.

My best advice is, get out of the house as soon as possible. Ideally, if your mom or stepdad have the financial resources, move away to college. There are resources on most campuses to help troubled students.

Have you graduated HS? Will you this summer, next? You really DO need to stick things out long enough to get your diploma.

Frankly, I suggest moving to college as a possibly convenient means of escape. If this is not an option, move out as soon as you can find a safe and affordable place. Get a job and delay college if necessary. Besides, once you legally establish yourself as in independent entity (ie, your parents no longer can claim you as a deduction, you pay your own rent, etc.), you will be able to apply for financial aid on terms that won’t tie you to your parents.

Their problems are not yours to solve, even if THEY want them to be. And you cannot solve them. Soo try not to feel too bad about it, and keep talking to people about your situation.

Ah yes, the whole doctor’s kid thing. My dad’s a doctor, and I really do think doctor’s kids (and families generally) get less in the way of medical care (and particularly psychological care) than other kids. I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve known enough other doctor’s kids to make me think it’s true.

And I must echo what other people are saying: get counseling, and get out. College will be great for you; go somewhere far away (I went to school over 1000 miles from home, and it was awesome).

BTW, not that it’s any of my business, but it sounds like your mom and stepdad could use some couples therapy.

Good luck with the rest of your life! :slight_smile:

i stayed at dans last night, things got to crazy at home.

the thing is, when i’m not at home, i feel kinda ok. Like when i stay with someone else for the weekend, and i dont have the stress of my family, i do ok. but within minutes of getting home, i go downhill.

my parents did go to couples therapy. the therapist told dave nothing would change unless he stopped working as much(he has 7+ jobs). He refuses to stop working as much. he actually told us that he likes being at work more than being at home. charming, huh? and there is NO WAY he will lets the little boys go to therepy. absolutly not. and me and mom cant go to therepy together becuase there’s noone to watch the kids. can’t hire a baby-sitter becuase the boys usually have to be physically restrained, too much for a babysitter to handle.
yesterday before i went to dans, i basically said straight out to mom that living at home is not healthy for me. she started crying and saying that it kills her to relize that it’s better to stay at dan’s than live with my own family. if things don’t change by next school year, i think i’ll have to start thinkingn about moving in with dan. mom relizes this too.

I’m a junior in hs, but this summer i will be going away for about a month with the Student Conservation Association.

good news: mom says she wants to talk to her doctor about possibley increaseing her meds. i actually think she will this time