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Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey y'all, 

Today is just in all honesty a rant post, but I would appreciate words of wisdom and some "it'll get better" or "I feel you" comments. This is also a safe space so if you wanna rant as well, please feel free.

This week has been such a rush, mental health, climate change, my grandmother. That last one is what I'm ranting about today, as I love her but I can't even be in the same room as her.

For background, she is 66 and I'm living with her and Pop most days. Why most days you ask? Every Wednesday I'm out of Perth volunteering in Northam, staying with my folks. I hold my Nan near and dear to my heart, but enough is enough. So here I am, ranting online about it.

She's severely mentally ill, I'm no shrink, and here's the but, but even I know as a 22 year old she needs help. The deal is this I'm a grown up, I wear my personality on my sleeves, and I want to experience life at it's fullest while I'm still young. But I can't go out after dark without another person to babysit my ass, if I want to go to a club I need a ride or I need to be in the city before dark, which is generally 2-3 hours before a club of my choosing opens.

And to top it off, 9 times outta 10 I'll get a hard no from getting a lift. I pull more weight in the household than I have to, I push myself to the brink and it still feels like I'm not doing enough. 

I even offer to drive to the designated spot of music and alcohol, I'm on my Learner's permit, but I'm confident enough in my ability to drive from point A to point B, but that's to hard too.

I've got major depression, and I haven't hurt myself in a long time but tonight I've been thinking about hurting myself again. I don't want to, I just want to feel better honestly.

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey @LizO1997,


Sounds like you've got a lot going on at the moment dealing with your mental health, climate change and your nan and her expectations that are quite different to yours, is that right?


It can be so challenging when the people we love have different ideas about what they want our life and time to look like. It can be a really difficult balance between what we want and maintaining a relationship that is important to us. Have you been able to chat to your nan about how you're feeling?


Also, you mentioned you've been thinking about hurting yourself, so I just wanted to double check that you're safe? 

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey @LizO1997 


Thanks for sharing. Your story is something I can personally relate to. My grandma worries about everything. I love her to death, but yes, at times it can become frustrating. She worries over the smallest things. I said I wanted to get a bike the other day to go on bike rides (along the river, not on the road) with my boyfriend, and she was against the idea because its "dangerous". She's pretty much against any idea that involves me leaving the house. So yes, I definitely hear you. To be quite honest, I'd usually not listen to her anyway,  but she doesn't get too upset at me for it. Or she might in the moment (because she was worried), but then she'd get over it.. I'd usually laugh things off. I'd also say "grandma, if I was at home all the time and had no social plans, then you'd be worried then too, so just be happy that I'm going out..." I guess it helps that I have my parents who stick up for me going out though. Could your parents try talking to your grandma for you?


If you could clarify - you said 9 times out of 10 you don't get a lift. Do you mean when you ask your grandma for a lift, she usually says no? If so, that's pretty rough on you Smiley Sad and I understand how frustrating that would be. Would she feel better if your friends came over, and you two headed out together? At least she sees that you're with someone? 


You mentioned wanting to hurt yourself earlier. Are you still having these thoughts? 


Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hi @LizO1997! Welcome to the forums!

That situation sounds so frustrating. Smiley Sad It can be so hard to deal with overprotective family members or loved ones with mental health issues.
My family is also very overprotective of me. I don't get to leave the house a lot either. It was hard not being able to do what my friends were allowed to do growing up.

I think the suggestions on this thread are great.
We have an article that might help with telling your Nan how you feel. Heart

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hello @WheresMySquishy 

Thank you so much, I've read the article and I will definitely use it next time I want to speak to her. Sometimes she'll cut me off in conversation as well, and I know it's a bad habit to get out of but what do I do in the instance she does?

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hello @Sunflower18 

I am in a safe place, I haven't hurt myself because luckily as I was at a birthday party last night and I partook in safe alcohol consumption. I have tried to speak to her about these issues, but it's a bit hard trying to stay calm. And whenever I bring it up, the fact that I'm not in a decent mood makes the conversation shut down and it's like my words do not matter.

In all honesty it is how I feel but I can't express it in a healthy, non-panicky way. Would you have any advice in the instance I do get shut down? 

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey @Maddy-RO 

To clarify, yes that is what I mean in regards to getting a lift from her. It's not ideal but I don't have many other options, I remind my friends regularly that I cannot be at there's after dark unless they give me a ride. In all honesty I just want independence, to make my own mistakes and learn from them. If I went on public transport after dark and the instance something might happen, I'd know not to do it again. But I've been on public transport after dark on my own and thus far nothing has happened. 

I understand where she is coming from, and it's from a place of concern and love. But when I don't have any friends to give me a lift, I'm left with public transport and that isn't a viable option for me after 6:30.

I feel like I'm putting barriers for myself up, like if I did get the opportunity to go out on my own I'd probably not do it due to these nagging thoughts of what my family would think of me.

I'm luckily in a much better mood since starting this thread, but the thought of being stuck here forever weighs heavy on me.

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey @LizO1997 


Thanks for opening up about the situation you're in Heart  It sounds like your grandmother really cares about your safety but I can see how restricting her rules are. I'm just wondering if there's anyone in your family that you think could help you with negotiating an arrangement that you're happier with? 


I'm glad you are feeling better and that talking about what's going on here has helped. I'm sure one day you'll be in a position to live independently and make your own choices about how to keep yourself safe. When you feel weighed down by this, remember that it's temporary. 


Sending you lots of strength Heart

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

Hey @Bre-RO 

I understand she cares for me, but it feels like borderline kidnapping to be honest. Even some kidnappers would let their victims out in public! But alas I'm not kidnapped, more like a mole woman.

I can get my Mum to try and negotiate but even she agrees with some of the rules Nan enforces, she even told me that I live in the house so I follow HER rules. She didn't say anything about negotiating the terms and conditions of said rules though 😉 

Just now I'm on a train to catch another train to my parents place, and she called me all panic stricken from the sounds of it, asking if I was okay, and will I get to where I'm going in time etc. I didn't want to yell at her, but at that point I'd only left the house less than two hours prior. I leave the house and do stuff to get away from the overbearing of my grandmother, I want to love her and not yell at her but I'm scared and don't know what to do

Re: Family drama and it's effect on my social life and mental health

I get what you mean @LizO1997. It can feel so stifling to have overprotective family members. Smiley Sad
Your nan kind of reminds me of my mum and grandma. They were so surprised that I was able to catch buses and trains by myself, know where to go and stay calm when I got lost.

Would reassuring her help? You could tell her that you appreciate that she cares about you, but you can make your own decisions and know what you're doing.
If she talks over you, do you think that leaving the room until she calms down would be a good strategy? You could also say, 'I wasn't quite finished'.