I live with my mother and my little brother (aged 11) in a small flat. My mother married a psychopath more than ten years ago, and didn't manage to divorce him until some two year or so ago, partly because she was in a state of denial. If it hadn't been for what the guy was doing to me, she'd probably never have divorced him. The last few years of her marriage she grew bitter and, in retrospective, seems to have started developing some rather severe mental issues. Then there was a very dramatic time during the divorce where most of her family left her standing all alone with me and my brother. There's still no support to be had from them, and we communicate little with them (which I find is rather sad). After the divorce there was a lot of added pressure on my already very exhausted mother from my ex- stepfather, who never seemed to want to let go. It's only escalated, and in addition to economical problems, this, I believe, has driven her to the brink of mental illness. She works incessantly, often more than 12 hours a day at a learning institution in our town, and seems to be very successful. It's just that when she gets home, she is always very angry, and especially lets this out on me, since I am the only one in the family who doesn't have the added pressure of her former husband on my shoulders. So she's constantly angry at me while doing everything for my brother. I know I sound jealous, but I really am not, I'm just stating a fact. I love my brother more than anyone in my entire family, and would do anything for him if it was beneficial to him. But back to my mother - she's destroying our family even after the initial cause moved out. She seems to be blaming me for every bad thing around the place. She places idiotic restrictions on me (for instance, I'm not allowed to lie down on the couch in the family's living room to rest after an exhausting day at university) and then refuses to explain why. For gods sake, I'm almost 20, I need to know why, not just "because I said so!". I want to understand, I want us to communicate to get this bloody ship going again, I want to have a proper family where everyone feels loved and cared for. I'm so tired of being shouted at (it's been happening for more than 15 years now, first from him, now from her), I'm so tired of fruitless attempts at communicating which only ends up in having the person I'm trying to speak to in a polite, calm manner scream at me accusing me of arrogance, selfishness, ungratefulness and being told that either I adhere to The Rules and stop "picking fights" or I can get the hell out of her house. I am not picking a fight, but trying to understand and to resolve the matter in a mature way. I cannot stand being confined to my 5 square metres big room; it feels like being jailed. The worst thing is that I don't have any money and can't find a job, so there's no way I can escape this living hell. I feel like I'm behaving like the parent and she's behaving like a teenager filled to the brim with hormones. It's even come to the point where she's stomped off slamming the doors behind her. And in the middle of all of this sits my little brother, who's already got problems of his own, and my grandmother, who's dying with anxiety and sorrow (I was woken up this morning by her coming into my room and crying her eyes out because she's so worried about my mother). It feels like I'm the only somewhat sane person here, and I don't know how much longer I can keep a nervous breakdown away, with my family and my final exams at university rushing in on me. How am I going to cope? Is there any way to help them without breaking down myself? How to handle day- to- day situations and communicating with my mother? I have nowhere to go, no one to cling to and no one to talk to. I'm worried, lonely and exhausted. I don't know how much longer I can live like this, yet I have no other choice. If there ever was something like being caught in a net and dragged down to Hell, this'd be it.
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