When Your Parent Has An Undiagnosed Mental Illness
Katie Klabusich

My Story

I just want to say, while we may not be undergoing the exact same situation, I have a similar situation with my mother. It wasn’t until I was becoming a teenager that I realized some of the issues with my mother.

My three older sisters pretty much raised me when they were living at home. My dad had been sick since I was very little. After my third sister left home, I started realizing the things they had tried to tell me. I always came to my mothers defense. But something switched. I slowly realized that her job, shouldn’t be as much work as she made it out to be. But I let that slide.

I started doing more around the house with my sisters gone. (As well as my dad. Long story, not going into that. Lets just say he was sick for a long time.) I started doing the laundry as well as some cooking. I took care of the pets, but that was the condition of having them. Then I was doing the mopping, the scrubbing, all of the cooking. I was doing the laundry and even picking out her clothes for her because it was too hard for her to do. She kept saying oh, I will start doing more. But she never did. This kept going for a while. Pretty soon after, I realized that everything was about her.

It took me some processing to understand this. I thought mothers were supposed to always put their children first. Then I realized, EVERYTHING….was always about her. I noticed it with stupid little things. Lets say… If we were out running around, had a bottle of water in the car that was warm. She got thirsty. I had to run into the store to get her a fresh bottle of cold water. If I got thirsty, well its at least water to drink even if its warm. I started noticing a bunch of little things like this.

Then, I noticed the conversations we had. I would tell her about my problems with friends, or if my ankle was hurting (I am very clumsy). She almost always turns the conversation back onto herself. “well I had that problem when I was your age” “Oh my back is hurting so bad”. I realized, she wasn’t someone I could talk to, because no matter what, she didn’t listen. She had to make the conversation about her. Then I noticed it out of the house and with other people. In a conversation with someone. “Oh, well I moved out to take care of my mom (my grandmother) and its just been so hard on me, and I had to take care of my husband when he was sick too, and I am just tired all the time. As soon as I noticed this. I went to my siblings.

For one. I do ALL of the house around the work. She “supervises”. I am the one taking care of grandma, while mom “pays bills” and is an online shopaholic because its too much effort to actually go out and shop. (seriously though, we get packages almost everyday for stupid crap.) I have pretty much failed my entire high school career because she hasn’t been supportive.(Considering I want to be a doctor, that doesn’t look good for colleges).

I want to still have a relationship with her, but she is constantly getting jealous when I hang out with my siblings or make good comments about them. Its like she thinks I am saying shes awful and what not. (Making it all about her). Part of me never wants to have anything to do with her, the other part wants me to still have a relationship with her, but I don’t want to get sucked in like my one sister did and end up revolving my life around her…

Sorry this is so long. I just finally found someone who sounds like they might understand. Do you have any tips for me? Its OK if you don’t. It was just really nice to write this out to someone.