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I'm parenting my own parent

I really feel like I am the parent when it comes to my mother. Yesterday was my 19th birthday and it ended with me having to pay a cab to bring her home from a bar (I don't have a licence and she spent all her money), cook her dinner and put her in bed because she was too drunk to do it herself. I wish I could just leave her to deal with it herself but then I'm worried she'll end up seriously hurt or worse because she can't control herself. This happens almost every weekend. I don't think she's an addict because she goes all week totally fine and normal and then on the weekends it's like she just loses control and I'm the one left looking after her and fixing the mess she makes. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I try to bring it up when she's sober because upsetting her gives me really bad anxiety. So I have anxiety and I'm scared of being in trouble so I feel like she continues to treat me like this because she knows I will always help her even if it's hurting me. I don't know if that's her exact intention but that's what is happening. I don't know how to make her stop because I can't just leave. I don't earn enough money to live on my own. Every time I try to bring it up to my friends or anything they all say "I'm sorry that's happening to you" like I literally have no one. Does anyone have any tips? I really want to see a doctor but can't afford it and I've tried to tell my mother a few times that my anxiety is getting worse and becoming physically painful and she just tells me she "doesn't want to deal with it right now" every time I bring it up so idk what I'm supposed to do. I also don't have a father or any other family that I can turn to.

Re: I'm parenting my own parent

Hey @trophypies101 - welcome to RO. Sorry about the late-reply; for some reason your post got stuck in our spam filter and it took a little while to "unclog" things. It can definitely be really hard dealing with that role-reversal, particularly considering how much you already have on your plate trying to cope with your anxiety on your own. And on your birthday, no less!


Personally I can't say that I've been in your situation, so I'm not really sure I could give you any particular advice (at least with dealing with your mother - anxiety's more up my wheelhouse). However, I do know that there are also other sites and resources that you can tap into that might be able to give you a little more dedicated support, like Young Carers, where you can find some more information on whether you qualify as a young carer, in which case they can provide you with some financial support, which could make things a little easier on you. You can also find support groups through them to talk to others who've been in the same boat who might be able to provide more concrete advice.


Re: the anxiety - it would be easier to provide more tailored advice if we knew more about your circumstances. You mentioned that you're earning, but are you studying at the moment? A lot of unis and some TAFEs actually have counsellors who you can chat to for free if you ever need a friendly ear, and they can also help you figure out alternative studying arrangements or exam/assignment deferrals to give you a bit of extra breathing space. Alternatively, your local headspace centre could also be a pretty good source of support as well - you can find where it is here.


Hope that's helped a little! And of course, we're always happy to chat on RO if you just need 

someone to listen and vent to-  feel free to let us know how you're getting on, and if there's anything else we can do to help and we can try to figure something out together. Smiley Happy

Re: I'm parenting my own parent

Hey @trophypies101, sounds like the situation with your mum is really tough. It sucks that she would behave like that at all, let alone on your birthday.

In regards to not being able to see a doctor, I know some places are free because of Medicare, so you wouldn't have to pay for the GP appointment. And in regards to appointments with a psychologist or counsellor, if that was something you'd consider, the GP could give you a mental health care plan which would alleviate at least some of the cost related to that.

Is there a local GP clinic where you might be able to enquire about that sort of thing?


How are you doing today?

Sending lots of support your way!

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: I'm parenting my own parent

Hi @trophypies101,

I'm sorry to hear you've been going through all of that. Sounds like you have a lot on your shoulders. I think @Asche's idea of looking into Young Carers might be really helpful for you! 


In terms of your anxiety, do you have a self-care plan? When I feel anxious I like to listen to music to take my mind off of things or make sure I take 5 deep breaths. 


We're always here to talk and support you @trophypies101!


Re: I'm parenting my own parent

Hello @trophypies101,


I know upsetting her gives you anxieties but if this continues, both you and your mother will suffer even more. I am sure there is some sort of underlying problems behind her actions so i am afraid that in order to resolve the issue you will have to stick out a limb and talk to her when she is sober. Be honest with her. Tell her that it is selfish of her to do that to you and that it is unfair that she is forcing her problems on other people. Tell her you have had enough and she cannot just say she "cannot deal with it right now". What is right now? When is right now? I think you will just have to doggedly pursue the problem until she talks. Bring it up everyday, multiple times a day until she has no choice but to tell you to get you off her case. Tell her she does not have to carry the burden alone, that you are there for her. Ask her why she is not telling you? Ask her why is she not trusting you enough to confide in you? Let her know she is being loved and cared for but this self-destructive behaviour has to stop now, for both her good and your own. Escaping from your problems only makes it worse, the only way to move forward is to confront them head on. Please @trophypies101, make your feelings known. Be brave, i know it is hard but i believe you can do it. Let us know how it goes.


As for GP, i think there is a thing called bulk-billing so you do not have to pay, the government does. Otherwise like the others suggest, there are numerous help sites and help lines that you can talk to to ask for advice.


Do you know the song Brave? "Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall out, Honestly I wanna see you be brave" Smiley Wink 


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