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Not sure if I'm being selfish or not

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Donedonedone

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Canada
Hi, completely new here and just looking for some advice/insight.

For background, I am 24F who lives at home with my mom (61F) and younger brother (23M). My mom has a physical disability that has caused her to retire early, about 9 years ago, and my brother has schizophrenia that was diagnosed 8 years ago. They both mostly just stay at home and do errands together. My mom recently got a boyfriend within the last year, which has helped her make friends and get out to do her own thing once in a while. I work 40 hours a week so I'm not home much, and when I am I'm doing online schoolwork or just playing video games.

My main issue with how everything is going is, I feel like my mom doesn't care about mine and my brother's futures. Maybe she does but she isn't educated enough to know what a bright future looks like. (She dropped out in grade 7). I dropped out in grade 12 when my brother had his schizophrenic episode, as it caused me a lot of stress and ptsd-like symptoms. Looking back, I don't think it was necessary for me to drop out, especially since I only had half a year left, but my mom encouraged me to stay home. To be fair, I was transitioning to online school at the time, but it was very hard to do as we were going out of the city to multiple different hospitals and staying in different hotels all the time trying to figure out how to help my brother. At the time it seemed like the most important thing, but now that I'm older, and I was 17 at the time, I feel like my mom should have pushed for me to stay physically in school. Not trying to blame her too much for that, but if I was the parent I wouldn't let my kid drive around to hospitals every day over being in school. Obviously the dust was going to settle with my brother and now I just regret not finishing my own schooling.

This led to severe depression for me as I was always a high achiever growing up. I stayed home for three years, no school or work. When I turned 20 I decided to get a job finally. I had a boyfriend throughout all of this btw, who also dropped out of school, but before the schizophrenic episode. I ended up working in a very social environment, which helped me connect to the outside world again and remember who I was before the deep depression. I honestly think the job saved my life. And I'm going to be totally honest and say that it immediately made me look down upon my family. My boyfriend and I were the only ones working, and being around other productive people made me start to resent my mom and brother.

A couple years later, I broke up with my boyfriend after he made me pay for my birthday vacation, because he somehow messed up, still won't tell me what happened. He also lost his job after the vacation which attributed to the break up. It took me a long time to find myself after the break up, it's been a year and a half now, and I just feel like I'm at a stale mate. I'm happy that I'm working and finally going to graduate through online schooling, but I just wish I was out of the house.

I am going on 25 and feel like I'm still being held back. And the part where I'm worried that I'm being selfish about is, my mom's health isn't that great, it's getting better as she takes care of herself, but she has talked about after she is gone. She says she doesn't want me to abandon my brother. I told her I never would. I would never want him living with me though. And she says she feels like he would be forgotten if he was put into a home or a single apartment. This makes me feel like she wants me to live with him the rest of my life. I don't want to do that at all. I have a vision for my life, and I want my future kids to feel safe. My brothers episode involved an animal being hurt, and while he hasn't done anything like that since, he still has symptoms of the illness and they still bother me.

I've always just wanted a nice simple family, and frankly I don't think I can have that with my brother living with us. He's also unpredictable with his medicine, every 2 years he says he thinks he can go off of them and it always ends up badly and with him going to the hospital.

ANYWAYS, sorry for the story book. I just wanted to have enough background so hopefully I can get some advice on this situation and my guilt. Thank you for any feedback!!
 
Sam1305

Sam1305

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Germany
i don't think you are being selfish by wanting what other people have and often don't even acknowlege. I understand that the situation with your brother is unique but i am sure you will figure something out that works for everybody. When i was young my sister got diagnosed with a light case of autism and since it was the first 'illness' in my family , my parents wanted to do everything right and started to focus so much on my younger sister that me and my older sister felt left out. Our methods to get our parents attetion at the time were being really good at school but even our good grades were appreciated for like a day and then forgotten. Of course this situation isn't the same as yours, but i understand you questioning yourself if you are selfish because i though for a very long time that i was selfish when i wanted my parents attention because i knew my little sis needed it more. I have since come to the conclusion that it isn't selfish if you question yourself if it was selfish because that proves that you do care about others and only ask for things when you really need them. I don't know if that really makes sense but it works for me. Maybe your brother could live in a apartment with some of his friends, who know how to handle him. This way he wouln't be forgotten like your mom fears. ( since you said that he spends most of his time at home i of course don't know if he has such reliable friends but this was my only idea, i am sorry)
 
PurplePrinny80s

PurplePrinny80s

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
115
Location
Baltimore
1. It is valid to tell your brother that your role in his life is contingent on him taking his medication consistently for safety reasons. No exceptions.

2. It is never too early to look into mental health services in the area. Some places have independent living housing with a para professional on call and checking in once a week. It all depends on where you live though.
 
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Donedonedone

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Canada
i don't think you are being selfish by wanting what other people have and often don't even acknowlege. I understand that the situation with your brother is unique but i am sure you will figure something out that works for everybody. When i was young my sister got diagnosed with a light case of autism and since it was the first 'illness' in my family , my parents wanted to do everything right and started to focus so much on my younger sister that me and my older sister felt left out. Our methods to get our parents attetion at the time were being really good at school but even our good grades were appreciated for like a day and then forgotten. Of course this situation isn't the same as yours, but i understand you questioning yourself if you are selfish because i though for a very long time that i was selfish when i wanted my parents attention because i knew my little sis needed it more. I have since come to the conclusion that it isn't selfish if you question yourself if it was selfish because that proves that you do care about others and only ask for things when you really need them. I don't know if that really makes sense but it works for me. Maybe your brother could live in a apartment with some of his friends, who know how to handle him. This way he wouln't be forgotten like your mom fears. ( since you said that he spends most of his time at home i of course don't know if he has such reliable friends but this was my only idea, i am sorry)
Thanks Sam! Yea another thing I worry about is the fact he doesn't have any friends. I've tried inviting him to come hangout with me and my friends, but he's totally against it... Won't even come out of his room for family gatherings. Sometimes he shows improvement by saying he'd like to get his license or even get a job soon, but my mom always acts like those things aren't in the cards for him. I don't think she has said this to his face, but that's what she says to me. This is another thing that makes me resent my mom... I think she feeds off her kids needing her and wants them to need her until her dying day.
 
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Donedonedone

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Canada
1. It is valid to tell your brother that your role in his life is contingent on him taking his medication consistently for safety reasons. No exceptions.

2. It is never too early to look into mental health services in the area. Some places have independent living housing with a para professional on call and checking in once a week. It all depends on where you live though.
Yes, we do have independent housing where I live, which I have brought up to my mom, but she says she hates that idea and doesn't want his only visitor to be some nurse that he hardly knows. I don't know if this is just her way of making me feel guilty without anything even happening yet... Maybe she just thinks the worst of me and believes I would literally never call him or visit him if he lived on his own. Very frustrating... Growing up and still to this day I've had to remind her that he is her child, not mine. I am often called selfish by my family and they don't realize that the reason I am "selfish" now is so that I can give the best life to my future family. I don't see my current family as my dependants at all, and don't think I should. I try to stipulate that at my age I'm really just a roommate now and don't owe them anything.
 
PurplePrinny80s

PurplePrinny80s

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
115
Location
Baltimore
It's her responsibility to set something up, not you. Be firm with your boundaries but offer to help set him up in independent housing if that is what he needs.
 
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Donedonedone

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Canada
It's her responsibility to set something up, not you. Be firm with your boundaries but offer to help set him up in independent housing if that is what he needs.
Thank you! This is my usual argument
 
T

toto

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
1,160
Location
München
I am absolutely on your side. I am schizoaffective and ... to tell you the truth, I am very lazy, but I struggle with myself to be decent. Your mother hurts you for not encouraging him to be independent. , since she has not supported you to complete your education, she is obviously not very good with her head. You have to take care of yourself. To start a family and be happy.
 
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Donedonedone

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Canada
I am absolutely on your side. I am schizoaffective and ... to tell you the truth, I am very lazy, but I struggle with myself to be decent. Your mother hurts you for not encouraging him to be independent. , since she has not supported you to complete your education, she is obviously not very good with her head. You have to take care of yourself. To start a family and be happy.
Thank you so much! I am sorry that you live with the illness as well, and can totally sympathize. I have nothing against my brother as I know he tries his best, and I mostly just blame my mom for her enabling behavior. I thank you for your insight and it totally helps me feel better about feeling the way I do.
 

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