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Sick of being a young carer... selfish?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    I'm fed up of never being a daughter to my dad, who has bipolar and other stuff. He's never treated us like a daughter, relies on us for everything, even when we try to help him to help himself he'd rather us do things, he's always being selfish and the second we mention it to him, he blames it on his bipolar and acts like all the world is against him. At the moment it's worse than ever, he's being selfish and arrogant and irritating and to be honest, a lot of it isn't the illness, it's just his attitude, it's the way all his family always have been and he's behaving exactly the same, still with no regard for the way it makes us feel.

    I'm 17 and I'm the oldest of my siblings, so whilst the majority of the caring for my dad has been my mom, I've been the one who's always looked after my mom and helped with my brother and sister, who are 12 and 10 and can't really help very much. I'm missing lots of college because I'm worried about them and how he'll be when we're out, a couple of years ago he had an online affair with a woman, when he was found out he wanted pity, locked himself in the bathroom and ended up spending a week in the psychiatric unit. Once again it was all about himself. He made all these promises about changing, yet he never did, but we believed him, took him back and now look where it's got us. I went through depression a couple of years ago and his behaviour was a major factor in it.

    It's making my mom really unhappy but he's refusing to see how bad it is, we want him to go into respite just to give us a few weeks to sort ourselves out but he refuses and the mental health team don't think he's ill enough to warrant any help because when he goes to see them, he acts like he's doing great and really making a difference - and that the only problem is that he "can't deal" with my mom shouting, which is BS because she only ever shouts when he's refusing to see what he's doing.

    It's like he's the child and we're all adults, and he doesn't seem to want to get better - it's like he enjoys being ill because it gives him an excuse to get away with whatever he wants to do. He's arrogant and self-obsessed and I feel like I haven't had a childhood thanks to him. I'm going to uni in September and I'm scared about leaving them, because I don't want my brother and sister to end up missing out on enjoying their early teens like I did, and I don't know how my mom is going to cope - I'm the only one she can really talk to, we don't live in a very accepting community and none of the agencies that should be forthcoming with help are, because my dad manages to persuade them that he's fine and it's mom who has the problem and makes out things are bad, so they all refuse to listen to her.

    I've decided I want nothing more to do with him - I'll help mom to look after him, and I'll carry on helping my brother and sister, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't want him to talk to me anymore, I don't want to let myself or anyone else get hurt by him and I don't care about him anymore - I said the other day, "I may not like him sometimes but I still love him", but I can see the way he's hurting my mom and everything he's done, the hundreds of times we've given him chances and the way he's thrown them all back in our faces, and I don't love him anymore - I hate him, and I don't want to be around him.

    Part of me feels like this is selfish - he's ill, and he needs our support and it's my job to care for him - but I'm so angry at the moment, because he plays up to his illnesses, and uses us for our support and gives us nothing in return, and I'm 17, I should have happy memories of my childhood and of my dad, not just seeing my dad as the person who made me different to everyone else, and made it so that I couldn't have friends round if he wasn't feeling up to it, and always having to plan things around him, and I feel like I'm justified in feeling like this.

    I'm expecting loads of TL;DRs but if anyone can give me their opinions or advice I'd really appreciate it.

    TL;DR: My dad is selfish and plays up to his illnesses, never makes the effort to change no matter how much help we offer him, is it selfish of me to not want anything to do with him anymore?
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    :console: I don't blame you at all for how you're feeling - mental illness can really wear you down, even if you're not the one actually experiencing it. But really I think what's important here is thinking up practical ways of helping you and your family, rather than worrying about the morality of how you're feeling.

    These are just some thoughts off the top of my head (so sorry if they're rubbish ) about ways of improving your situation:
    - keep a diary of ways your dad's illnesses detrimentally affect your family's day to day life then show it to his keyworker/whoever he sees regularly about his care. Having a list of suggestions about the problems pre-thought out might also help.
    - look into mental health charities or again ask your dad's health team about the possibility of getting someone to look after him part-time. Sounds like if you could all have even just one proper day off a week it might really help you.
    - make sure you're claiming all the help or benefits you might be entitled to, so at least money won't be a stress (if that's a problem) and you might be able to pay for someone to look after him occasionally.
    - if your family has any reliable friends living nearby, you could ask them to keep an eye on your brother and sister once you're away - invite them round regularly, take them to the cinema and stuff like that. Also make sure you're in regular contact with them and your mum so they know they've got you to turn to.
    - this option I know nothing about, but would family counselling appeal to you? If your dad can get some outside perspective on how his behaviour is affecting you all then maybe he'll make a little more effort.

    Hope things do get better for you OP, and that your own health doesn't suffer again (although if it does then I recommend joining us in the depression society).
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    (Original post by superwolf)
    :console: I don't blame you at all for how you're feeling - mental illness can really wear you down, even if you're not the one actually experiencing it. But really I think what's important here is thinking up practical ways of helping you and your family, rather than worrying about the morality of how you're feeling.

    These are just some thoughts off the top of my head (so sorry if they're rubbish ) about ways of improving your situation:
    - keep a diary of ways your dad's illnesses detrimentally affect your family's day to day life then show it to his keyworker/whoever he sees regularly about his care. Having a list of suggestions about the problems pre-thought out might also help.
    - look into mental health charities or again ask your dad's health team about the possibility of getting someone to look after him part-time. Sounds like if you could all have even just one proper day off a week it might really help you.
    - make sure you're claiming all the help or benefits you might be entitled to, so at least money won't be a stress (if that's a problem) and you might be able to pay for someone to look after him occasionally.
    - if your family has any reliable friends living nearby, you could ask them to keep an eye on your brother and sister once you're away - invite them round regularly, take them to the cinema and stuff like that. Also make sure you're in regular contact with them and your mum so they know they've got you to turn to.
    - this option I know nothing about, but would family counselling appeal to you? If your dad can get some outside perspective on how his behaviour is affecting you all then maybe he'll make a little more effort.

    Hope things do get better for you OP, and that your own health doesn't suffer again (although if it does then I recommend joining us in the depression society).
    Thanks for your response - it's really helpful, but unfortunately most of that stuff has either been tried or is impossible.

    We've been through family counselling and I've shown him how bad it makes us all feel, he just doesn't seem to care. He acts totally indifferent to it and runs away and hides because he can't face it. We don't have any family friends really - I don't know if it's because the area we live in is pretty ignorant and intolerant towards mental illness, because it seems to be that way. All our family is two and a half hours away - mom's side aren't incredibly supportive and his side don't even know he's ill. My dad doesn't even have a health team or even a CPN anymore, they've said he's not ill enough for it. He has a psychiatrist but apparently even that is stopping in a couple of weeks he needs a med change but he hasn't even bothered to find out which ones would be best for him - even though he and my mom run a bipolar forum with an extensive list of available medications and their side-effects! - and he refuses to make appointments for anything, and they won't let my mom make appointments for him.
    We are claiming benefits but we can't get anyone to look after him because he doesn't deal well with people at all - plus, although I think this might be the cynic in me talking, the people who come from outside to help him encourage him to get better, whereas although we've tried, every time we've relented and just let him carry on behaving the way he's been behaving.

    Thank you for your supportive post and I really appreciate the advice
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    Why don't you start on your Dad? And if he doesn't agree to change, report him for benefit fraud as he doesn't even seem that ill.
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    (Original post by yothi5)
    Why don't you start on your Dad? And if he doesn't agree to change, report him for benefit fraud as he doesn't even seem that ill.
    :rolleyes: In your opinion. You're not the one who has to live with him.

    OP - I wonder if you (it sounds as though you may need it) could get some sort of counselling?

    http://www.youngcarers.net/?gclid=CI...FYImtAodfHFiXQ
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    He has a psychiatrist but apparently even that is stopping in a couple of weeks he needs a med change but he hasn't even bothered to find out which ones would be best for him -

    Firstly:
    There's a whole new system rolling out it seems where you are either being assessed or 'in recovery'. 'In recovery' category people are intended to leave the system as soon as reasonably possible. Outcomes are being judged on criteria such as 'patient achieved employment'.

    The new scheme has a massive hole in it called 'people who aren't going to recover but need ongoing support'. Sounds as if your dad is caught up in this new system and is heading for discharge. In effect you as a family are left as the only support even though you feel there are still problems with behaviour and medication.

    As you yourself point out this is a very difficult position for the family to be in.

    Reading your message I could only think that it is not just your dad who is the problem here but your mother too in the sense that she is relying on you as her support and to act as a 'mother' to the younger children. It's understandable but in effect you do not have either parent providing a sense of security. Otherwise you would be more relaxed about leaving home, knowing that your mother will be seeing to things.

    It is your mother's decision ultimately to stay in this relationship with your father despite the affair and the difficulties of his illness. It is your mother who along with your father has allowed this to continue in a way which has laid a big burden on you and the other children in the family.

    So rather than concentrate on your father's role in all this and his illness.. I would try getting to grips with your mother and seeing if you can improve her resilience and ability to cope and empower her to make any changes necessary.

    This isn't about blaming your mother or father but about the fact that neither of them is allowing you to be a child in the family. Your father's illness and behaviour is entrenched and I think your mother is probably caught up in a set of patterns too.

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    [QUOTE=madders94;36706482]Thanks for your response - it's really helpful, but unfortunately most of that stuff has either been tried or is impossible.

    We've been through family counselling and I've shown him how bad it makes us all feel, he just doesn't seem to care. He acts totally indifferent to it and runs away and hides because he can't face it. We don't have any family friends really - I don't know if it's because the area we live in is pretty ignorant and intolerant towards mental illness, because it seems to be that way. All our family is two and a half hours away - mom's side aren't incredibly supportive and his side don't even know he's ill. My dad doesn't even have a health team or even a CPN anymore, they've said he's not ill enough for it. He has a psychiatrist but apparently even that is stopping in a couple of weeks he needs a med change but he hasn't even bothered to find out which ones would be best for him - even though he and my mom run a bipolar forum with an extensive list of available medications and their side-effects! - and he refuses to make appointments for anything, and they won't let my mom make appointments for him.
    We are claiming benefits but we can't get anyone to look after him because he doesn't deal well with people at all - plus, although I think this might be the cynic in me talking, the people who come from outside to help him encourage him to get better, whereas although we've tried, every time we've relented and just let him carry on behaving the way he's been behaving.

    Maybe this is your time for walking away and beginning your own life. That doesn't make you selfish or awful... it may even be neccesary in the end for your parents to get to grips with things themselves.



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    (Original post by yothi5)
    Why don't you start on your Dad? And if he doesn't agree to change, report him for benefit fraud as he doesn't even seem that ill.
    I'm not going to report him for benefit fraud - I'm angry at him but I don't want to mess up his life, I know he is ill and does need the benefits because there is no way he'd be able to work. And start on him? As in, physically? Because yeah, I can see a 5'5" teenage girl doing really well against a pretty big 6'1" guy. And emotionally won't work either because he just runs away and hides as usual.

    (Original post by OU Student)
    :rolleyes: In your opinion. You're not the one who has to live with him.

    OP - I wonder if you (it sounds as though you may need it) could get some sort of counselling?

    http://www.youngcarers.net/?gclid=CI...FYImtAodfHFiXQ
    I've had counselling and was a part of a young carers group, but the activities were really infrequent and aimed at young carers who were a few years younger than me, so I left, and I am hoping to get counselling but it needs to be at a time that won't interfere with my lessons because my teachers don't seem to understand that I'm a young carer, despite me having told them enough.

    (Original post by catoswyn)
    He has a psychiatrist but apparently even that is stopping in a couple of weeks he needs a med change but he hasn't even bothered to find out which ones would be best for him -

    Firstly:
    There's a whole new system rolling out it seems where you are either being assessed or 'in recovery'. 'In recovery' category people are intended to leave the system as soon as reasonably possible. Outcomes are being judged on criteria such as 'patient achieved employment'.

    The new scheme has a massive hole in it called 'people who aren't going to recover but need ongoing support'. Sounds as if your dad is caught up in this new system and is heading for discharge. In effect you as a family are left as the only support even though you feel there are still problems with behaviour and medication.

    As you yourself point out this is a very difficult position for the family to be in.

    Reading your message I could only think that it is not just your dad who is the problem here but your mother too in the sense that she is relying on you as her support and to act as a 'mother' to the younger children. It's understandable but in effect you do not have either parent providing a sense of security. Otherwise you would be more relaxed about leaving home, knowing that your mother will be seeing to things.

    It is your mother's decision ultimately to stay in this relationship with your father despite the affair and the difficulties of his illness. It is your mother who along with your father has allowed this to continue in a way which has laid a big burden on you and the other children in the family.

    So rather than concentrate on your father's role in all this and his illness.. I would try getting to grips with your mother and seeing if you can improve her resilience and ability to cope and empower her to make any changes necessary.

    This isn't about blaming your mother or father but about the fact that neither of them is allowing you to be a child in the family. Your father's illness and behaviour is entrenched and I think your mother is probably caught up in a set of patterns too.

    I was just talking to my mom, and she says how angry she is with herself for letting it carry on for so long. She's had a really rough ride of it even before she met my dad, and she's scared of what will happen to him if she leaves him, but she's also upset because of how it's affecting us and she is angry at herself.

    She's coped so well for so long, but she has depression and OCD, and I'm happy to be there for her. She is the main parent figure for my brother and sister, but I've stepped in and helped when her caring role for my dad impacts on her ability to do things for them (i.e picking them up from school, sorting out their dinner). She can't get any treatment for her illnesses because of my dad's dependence on her and I really want to be there for her, because she's been there for me through everything I've been through - unlike my dad who has remained blissfully ignorant.

    My mom is determined that I have to go to university, because I can't let it stop me from living my life, and I know deep down, and she has reassured me, that she will be able to cope - it's just me and my silly worrying that means I'm scared to leave home. It sounds a bit arrogant when I think of it, to assume that they can't cope without me

    No-one will listen to my mom (she's been kicked out of a meeting with the community psychiatric team and had a shouting match with my dad's psychiatrist when she was trying to get it through to them that if you leave my dad to make decisions regarding his care, he'll assure you that he's perfectly fine. The reason they've stopped his treatment is that they've said "You haven't made any effort to get better in sixteen years, we don't think you will get better, there's nothing more we can do for you", which I found horrible - "We can't help you so good luck to your family, they're gonna need it" - until I realized that they're telling the truth, despite us all trying to get him to see it, he has never made the effort to get better. When he was last in a kind of respite care place for a couple of weeks, he ended up holding an online affair with a woman who my parents both knew, telling her that if it wasn't for us kids, he'd go up there and meet her.

    I've gotten annoyed at my mom before for always taking him back, but I can understand that she's so worried about what's going to happen to him, and what's going to happen to us (both emotionally [my sister is definitely a daddy's girl] and practically [in terms of finances and living and travel etc]).
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    I've no advice but HUGE hugs to you. I think your feelings are completely understandable :sadnod:

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    I was just talking to my mom, and she says how angry she is with herself for letting it carry on for so long. She's had a really rough ride of it even before she met my dad, and she's scared of what will happen to him if she leaves him, but she's also upset because of how it's affecting us and she is angry at herself.

    She's coped so well for so long, but she has depression and OCD, and I'm happy to be there for her.

    My mom is determined that I have to go to university, because I can't let it stop me from living my life, and I know deep down, and she has reassured me, that she will be able to cope - it's just me and my silly worrying that means I'm scared to leave home. It sounds a bit arrogant when I think of it, to assume that they can't cope without me

    No-one will listen to my mom (she's been kicked out of a meeting with the community psychiatric team and had a shouting match with my dad's psychiatrist when she was trying to get it through to them that if you leave my dad to make decisions regarding his care, he'll assure you that he's perfectly fine. The reason they've stopped his treatment is that they've said "You haven't made any effort to get better in sixteen years, we don't think you will get better, there's nothing more we can do for you", which I found horrible - "We can't help you so good luck to your family, they're gonna need it" - until I realized that they're telling the truth, despite us all trying to get him to see it, he has never made the effort to get better. When he was last in a kind of respite care place for a couple of weeks, he ended up holding an online affair with a woman who my parents both knew, telling her that if it wasn't for us kids, he'd go up there and meet her.

    I've gotten annoyed at my mom before for always taking him back, but I can understand that she's so worried about what's going to happen to him, and what's going to happen to us (both emotionally [my sister is definitely a daddy's girl] and practically [in terms of finances and living and travel etc]).[/QUOTE]

    I really wasn't suggesting that your mom was anything but lovely. My heart goes out to her too. Just thinking that its easy for everyone to get stuck in patterns and things over the years, however hard we try not to.

    You're obviously a very caring daughter and I'm sure you've been a real support to your mum. I suppose for her the most cheering and wonderful thing would be to see you out there happy and succeeding as this would be a sign to her that despite everything that has happened you are okay and things are turning out well for her children. All mothers want that most of all. I think it would break her heart more if you stayed home because of all this and weren't able to do everything you wanted in life. It will also be an inspiration and role model for your brother and sister.

    In the meantime feeling p****d off with your dad is perfectly normal and healthy. Better than bottling it up and pretending to yourself.

    Big hugs
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    (Original post by catoswyn)
    I really wasn't suggesting that your mom was anything but lovely. My heart goes out to her too. Just thinking that its easy for everyone to get stuck in patterns and things over the years, however hard we try not to.

    You're obviously a very caring daughter and I'm sure you've been a real support to your mum. I suppose for her the most cheering and wonderful thing would be to see you out there happy and succeeding as this would be a sign to her that despite everything that has happened you are okay and things are turning out well for her children. All mothers want that most of all. I think it would break her heart more if you stayed home because of all this and weren't able to do everything you wanted in life. It will also be an inspiration and role model for your brother and sister.

    In the meantime feeling p****d off with your dad is perfectly normal and healthy. Better than bottling it up and pretending to yourself.

    Big hugs
    Thank you
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    As a carer myself, I understand exactly what you are talking about. Although it's my profession, I spend A LOT of time with the families of clients I care for who have both physical and mental problems. A lot of my advice comes down to the same thing everytime, it's not your fault and it isn't your responsibility to completely mould your life around someone else; it's your life. I have seen countless people who have dedicated everything to looking after someone and it completely drains them.

    My advice is to simply support your mum and get some space from the situation (as you said, go to uni, spend time with friends, go on holiday), for example a few families put their sick loved ones into a respite programme so they can get a break from them.
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    (Original post by madders94)
    Thanks for your response - it's really helpful, but unfortunately most of that stuff has either been tried or is impossible.

    We've been through family counselling and I've shown him how bad it makes us all feel, he just doesn't seem to care. He acts totally indifferent to it and runs away and hides because he can't face it. We don't have any family friends really - I don't know if it's because the area we live in is pretty ignorant and intolerant towards mental illness, because it seems to be that way. All our family is two and a half hours away - mom's side aren't incredibly supportive and his side don't even know he's ill. My dad doesn't even have a health team or even a CPN anymore, they've said he's not ill enough for it. He has a psychiatrist but apparently even that is stopping in a couple of weeks he needs a med change but he hasn't even bothered to find out which ones would be best for him - even though he and my mom run a bipolar forum with an extensive list of available medications and their side-effects! - and he refuses to make appointments for anything, and they won't let my mom make appointments for him.
    We are claiming benefits but we can't get anyone to look after him because he doesn't deal well with people at all - plus, although I think this might be the cynic in me talking, the people who come from outside to help him encourage him to get better, whereas although we've tried, every time we've relented and just let him carry on behaving the way he's been behaving.

    Thank you for your supportive post and I really appreciate the advice
    Sounds like you and your family have been through a hell of a lot. :console:

    Since from the sounds of it your dad is refusing all the help that is offered to him, maybe it is more worthwhile concentrating more on your mum (although don't forget to look after yourself as well). It sounds like she must care a lot about your family, and that she deserves help for her own problems - will she not be eligible for any treatment herself? And granted I know zilch about marriage, but it sounds like she ought to stand up for herself against her husband sometimes. From what you've said she's able to defend his interests when necessary, but doesn't do the same regarding her own. Do you think with your help she might stand up to him more?

    Also, regarding both you and your mum, I'm sure you both must have your hands absolutely full, but it's still really important to regularly have some time to yourself to just enjoy yourself or whatever. My mum's started going to the gym and loves it (almost as much as she loves going out boozing with her nurse friends :lol:), and it's definitely had a real positive effect on her, despite living a pretty busy life already.

    With school/college, do you have someone like a guidance teacher who's in charge of making sure you're generally doing ok? You could get them (or go higher up if that doesn't work) to reiterate to your teachers that they really do need to take your circumstances into account. If you're having any trouble getting enough time to do homework, or just want a bit of peace and quiet, why not take your brother and sister to the library? As long as they're moderately well-behaved you can just let them do their own thing for an hour or two (the librarians won't mind so long as they're not drawing the books new illustrations ) - then you can catch up on your work and simultaneously give your mum some time off.

    The only other thing I can think of right now (will post again if I think of anything else) is a bit more extreme, and depends on the extent of your dad's illness for how good/bad an idea it is. Would it be possible for your family, minus him, simply to go away for a week or two, maybe in the Easter holidays? Obviously you can't do this if he's unable to look after himself or might be a danger to himself, but if it was possible then you'd all get a break, and he'd also get a bit of a shock seeing that he could lose his family with how he's acting.

    I'm being very rambly tonight, and it's now 4.20am so it may well be that I've just written you a lovely load of word salad, but anyway I think it's awesome that you're trying so hard to look after your family even when it isn't even your responsibility, and if you ever want someone to have a moan to or whatever then you can PM me if you like.
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    I don't judge you at all, man. Being a carer is hard in itself. I did my NVQ lvl 2 in healthcare on a dementia unit and whilst it's not really relative to the situation with your dad I had days when I felt as if I was fighting the unwinnable battle, you know? What got me through was that through the effort I made I actually helped someone, somewhere. There is no greater feeling in the world than that, honestly. I admire you so much for doing what you have done and anyone with any morality in them will too.

    You are a 17 year old girl and you do all you can to make those around you happy. You have already shown that you are a great person. A person that has the personality, the determination and the care to achieve great things. You have no right to feel selfish whatsoever and I implore you to never even think it again.

    Hell, if this actually means anything to you, I think you are a brilliant person for what you have done/are doing. I wish you the very best of luck in the future too. You deserve it.
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    as a carer you and/or your mother are entitled to a social worker to assess your needs and be concerned about your health. Sometimes it is necessary to accept that you may be faciliitating the illness because the person who is ill has no incentive to try and get better. Sometimes you need to be selfish, it helps no-one if you damage your own health.

    Ultimately your father is responsible for his behaviour, not your mother. She may need outside help to see that.
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    Thanks for your replies everyone, I really appreciate them
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    (Original post by madders94)
    I'm fed up of never being a daughter to my dad, who has bipolar and other stuff.
    Hello, first off I'm so sorry about your situation and you sound so similar to how I felt at 17! My mum suffers with schizophrenia and has done all of her life, so when I came into the world, we instantly had an unusual relationship, where I grew very much into being in a reverse role with her, being mother to her. She had very strong delusional thoughts and terrible mood swings which really upset and disrupted a lot of my childhood - however, like you I was very frustrated and angry by the time I was 17, keen to move on and at this age, you're old enough to be able to reflect on how wrong and unjust these type of family situations are in comparison to 'the norm'. For myself I found it very difficult to fit in and have a lot in common with other college students because you tend to have grown up in a completely different way with maybe an older outlook on life. You can turn it into something very positive though, the maturity and kind of oomph it gives you to want to succeed is really useful when trying to get through university etc, and when applied outside of family life and into your own ambitions, it's an asset not a negative.

    What I really want to say to you is in NO WAY are you selfish, it's a confusing feeling because naturally you still love your father even though you may not like his ways, but you are completely entitled to move on and live your own life, making the decision to distance yourself for your own well-being. it is NOT your job to feel guilty for him. It doesn't mean you have to abandon him, and you can let it be known you will always be there for him if he decides he wants to change or improve his life, but really, if he is unable to function healthily and has a complex of 'victimization' along with his bipolar, which is sounds like he has, your mother should be taking control of the situation for the good of you! It she doesn't feel strong enough to do so it is not your fault, you're entitled to want to move away from him and make your own decisions. With my mum, she was on tons of medication, and really seemed to have no control over her thoughts and actions, so even when she treated me disgustingly, I was able to see past that and realize it wasn't her personality but her severe mental illness. Now I'm older, i can see the extent of her illness and reflect better, and i realize how hard it must have been to bring me up as a single mother ontop of it. However, there is absolutely nothing I can do to cure her illness and the best thing I CAN do is to be as happy as I can and do well in my career- that is the only way I can help her in old age, because to dedicate my life to caring for her solely would only make us both miserable & be fairly pointless in gaining justice & comfort for either of us! In the end, a good parent only wants to see their children contented, independent and happy, and if they don't there is something wrong with their motives somewhere! I think it's very destructive how some people feel as though we should lifelong be bound to our parents no matter how we may be treated by them. When you get past a certain age you stay your families life because you want to, people should bare that in mind really when bringing up children!

    We should only be responsible for our parents if we choose to be, it is not some kind of obligation, it is not up to a child to rear their own parents. The way you write is exactly how I wrote at 17, slightly mad with intensity of the frustrating state i was in! My feeling is that you NEED space and freedom from the situation in order to cope. You have dedicated a lot of time to observing and trying to reason with your father, it is his loss if he is not going to listen to you. Try to let it go and concentrate on your own needs and future, of which you deserve, and you will be able to come back to your family with a clear, healthy and happy head.
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    This is why I donated to comic relief to help young carers like you Hope it gets to you. If not i'll open my own one and not take any admin fees from it, so all of the money, help etc goes to good people like you
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    Hey, thanks for the replies. Things are going ok at the moment - we stuck with him for practical reasons more than anything, how things'll progress I don't know but I'm feeling comfortable at the minute knowing I've got only a few months and then I'm off to uni. I've been ill and in hospital and while I've been at home, he's had to do some things for me and I think it's shown him a bit of how things can be for us which I suppose is good. The med change isn't going well, he's acting like an arrogant twit at the minute but I'm trying to give as good as I get without starting massive arguments.

    Where things'll go from here I don't know but thank you everyone for your posts of support
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    Hello there x
    I cant sit down and have a coffee with you or give you a hug or a warm smile, so I would like to offer some words of advice instead, if I may.

    I am 50 years old. For most of my life (since I was 9, when my mum remarried a man suffering Manic Depression as it was back in the day - bipolar now) I have been a carer for my family. My father preferred not to take his Lithium to balance him out as he loved the 'highs'. We had the chaos from his highs including many (many!) home moves, violence and near-poverty due to him never keeping a job. We had the depression too - days and weeks of him never getting out of bed, suicide attempts, attempts to 'do away with us all' too. It was the 70's and 80's and mental illness was taboo, no sympathy or expertise. We were mercilessly bullied at school, ostracised, in and out of LA homes, lonely, frightened and felt 3rd rate. The treatment at home, due to my stepfathers untreated bipolar illness and my mum's anxiety was not much better. We 3 kids tried to help them - resulting in myself and my brother becoming mentally and emotionally and physically exhausted.
    I left school aged 15 - no qualifications. Ended up sweeping garage floors to make a living.
    My stepfather died in 1998. My mother died in 2008. I have spent all of my life, since I was 9, caring, sympathising, nurturing, understanding, forgiving them for their vile, cruel, angry, hurtful results of their illnesses. I have had little 'life' of my own - it has all been spent towards them, their 'care' and their needs. My brother nowadays, is hospitalised due to his mental illness - he is now very 'institutionalised' and its very hard to want to see him at all. He is, to be true, cruel, hurtful, demanding and seems to have no 'heart' at all. I am just means to money, gifts, trips out and a whipping boy for his moods.

    I am telling you this as I still dream of backpacking around Geneva, America and Morocco. I still dream of taking up the scholarship I won to an excellent school in Dorset, when I was 8 years old. I still dream of an interesting job and career other than the mundane typing job I hold down. I still dream of having children, of fostering children, of having a small farm, of running a craft shop, of talking to childhood friends (which I could never have due to my weird family and chaos and violence therein, plus we were marginalised due to our parents being 'nutters' - of lots and lots of things which - I never did because it was impossible due to my bending my whole childhood and young adult life towards looking after those who suffered with mental illness.

    I URGE you please. Please talk to someone. Please dont shoulder all this. Please dont feel guilty for feeling angry, sad - HUMAN. You may not be suffering the illness that your dad is, but that doesnt make YOUR needs, feelings or desires any less than his.

    You are YOUNG. Unless you want to work as a psychiatric nurse, unpaid, in your own home - talk to someone. Dont shoulder it. Dont FORGET yourself in this. Remember, when these poor souls arent with us anymore, you will be left with 'you' - do not be left with an empty 'you' - look after YOURSELF.
    Please. With kindest wishes and kindest thoughts and total empathy. xx

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Updated: December 31, 2012
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