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How to deal with attention seeking sister, and the attention she gets from family(158 Posts)
I am fed up with my sister's attention seeking behaviour. I have had several years of poor mental health, and in the last few years, my sister claims to have developed them too. However I think she is just looking for attention.
I suffer from depression, which I hide from my family as much as possible to avoid worrying them, because I care about their feelings and I don't like the extra attention. When I am having a bad day, I will generally just stay away, so they can't see how I feel so I don't worry them.
I also have IBS, which is probably linked to the depression. Again when I have been ill from this I have hidden it as much as possible, staying in the bathroom when ill to avoid worrying my family.
My sister is very attention seeking, and I've noticed she seems to copy me, to get attention. She has mild special needs and throughout childhood all the attention was on her (and most of the time it still is) but during the time I was most seriously ill, understandably my parents devoted a long more attention to me (even though I didn't even want it and just wanted to be left alone).
A few years ago she claimed to have depression, but rather than hide away, she would spend most of the time shouting and screaming about how unfair her life was, upsetting everyone around her. My parents spent a lot of money on private counselling and therapy for her, none of which helped much (they never spent a penny on me and I've had depression for six years!). Although I am expected to be sympathetic, seeing as I have had depression myself and recognise what it actually looks and feels like, I think she was actually putting a lot of it on for attention, and didn't really have depression, which is why neither therapy nor medication helped her.
She also claimed to have IBS and would dramatically keel over in agony, one time even having an ambulance called to attend to her, when she was taken to hospital all they found was mild dehydration.
Although it is possible that she genuinely had these two conditions, she made a fast "recovery" from both with no long lasting symptoms, whilst I still suffer from these conditions and have relapses from time to time. I feel she is copying me for attention, and because she is the "golden" girl in the family and I am the "scapegoat" I know that nobody will believe me if I tell them this.
How should I deal with this situation? Is there anything I can do or should I just accept that she is always going to be attention seeking, even to the point where it means I don't get the support I need to deal with real health conditions.
You can't really change others i.e. your sister and your parents. All you can do is address your own life, needs and problems and paddle your own canoe. I don't know how old everyone is but, assuming you and DSis are independent adults (even with mild SN), I'm sure you have plenty to be getting on with and don't have to spend all that much time with parents or siblings. If people aren't as supportive as you'd like then call on the medical professionals instead.
BTW... if you genuinely think she's a hypochondriac, faking all these illnesses, there's no law says you have to keep quiet.
We both currently still live at home unfortunately, although she is at university some of the time.
Discussing this with my family will only alienate me further (like I said I am the scapegoat) and medical professionals would not normally discuss other patients unless their health is actually at risk. When she had counselling, all members of the family (my parents and my other sister) got to speak with the therapists except me. Probably because they knew I was the only one who would tell the truth, that I don't really believe she is that ill.
You don't discuss her with the medical professionals. You focus on yourself, deal with your conditions and achieve a good mental balance. You can't diagnose her and shouldn't try. Are you very young that you still live at home or is it out of necessity?
Neither, just controlling parents.
So what plans do you have for a place of your own rather than living in this unhealthy environment that's probably contributing to your health issues?
I agree with Cogito free yourself from worrying about your sister. You need to realise that her behaviour need have no impact on your life.
Why are you at home? Any chance of moving out?
You have posted a few times about this sister and you are always given the same advice - detach and move on. For some reason you won't do that so obviously this problem will continue. Sorry.
I can't move out unless I have a stable job.
I have recently started a new job, but am finding it difficult especially due to the depression, and don't know if I will be able to keep it. But living at home probably influences the depression.
It's an impossible situation.
Just one observation. In the one breath you say you hide in bathrooms, don't like attention and don't want to worry your parents. In the next you say you want support and for them to show you the same concern as your DSis. That's rather contradictory and won't help you see this issue clearly.
Cailin, I've explained why I still live at home, and anyway it's my sister that is bothering me at the moment more than living at home.
Yeh, I agree.
Basically I would like the right kind attention.
The attention I get from my parents when I am sick is stupid and over the top and annoying and over protective.
I'd just like to know they are there for me if I wanted to talk. But they are so obsessed with poking ager my sister they fail to notice when I am ill unless I spell it out to them, and even then I get the wrong kind of attention.
not even sure what that was supposed to say...
possibly looking after?
You don't need a stable job to move out, just enough funds for a deposit. You could be a lodger somewhere quite happily for a few hundred a month and, if your work fizzles out, the benefits system would pick up the slack. If you're in a vicious circle of..... depression making work difficult, no work meaning staying with parents and parents making depression worse..... you have to break the cycle somehow.
Cogito, that would work if my parents allowed me to move out.
They are pretty manipulative and have made it clear that they will only support me if I do things their way.
I have no other support
No point complaining about the 'wrong sort of attention'.... that's a total non-starter. Your parents aren't health professionals, they're just people. Like all adults, your happiness is your own responsibility now.
What does 'support' mean? Money? Because you keep saying they don't support you or they give you the wrong sort of attention..... Is that really why you're sticking around, because they have a nice house and bedsit land is unappealing?
You are wasting time and energy expecting your family to change and become exactly the type of family you want. I know how shit and disappointing it is to have a family who lets you down but you're an adult you need to accept that's the way they are and let go. You will probably find your depression improves dramatically.
But their attention is sickly, almost bringing it back over to them as if it were them who was depressed not me. Same for my sister.
Most normal people would say I'm sorry you are feeling depressed.
They feel sorry for themselves that they have a family member who is depressed!
It doesn't help at all.
Are you on any meds for your depression?
My family sound quite similar to yours. They will never be what you want.
Not money, more emotional and practical support.
Not at the moment. I have been in the past.
My parents think I am still on them. This is because I didn't want the drama of telling them I decided to come off my meds (side effects).
It was a year and a half ago I came off my meds, and I was mostly ok for about a year, only in the last 6-9 months it has gotten worse.
Do they currently provide emotional and practical support?
notallthere you seem enmeshed in a very unhelpful family dynamic and as everyone has advised, you need to break free. What do you mean your family won't let you leave? Can they physically stop you? There are jobs and the benefit system you do not have to be dependent on your parents at all, indeed 95% of us are not.
You are basically rivals in your own home for your parents attention, and stuck in a very childish way of thinking and behaving. Have you any friends you could talk this through with?
Your parents can't fix your depression, and if you think they are making it worse, it would be better to leave, get CBT and live your own life, which will include managing your own depression.
The thing with your sister is irrelevant as they don't really give her good attention either as it has not helped her attention-seeking ways. You both need to move on, but for whatever reason, don't want to do this.
My sister on the other hand, because her "depression" was shouting and screaming, got her attention that was all about her.
I don't want to do that, it seems an incredibly selfish way to get attention.
I just wish my family could support me when I am ill rather than think about themselves.
I don't tell them when I am depressed because it will worry them, and make them act like this.
Do they currently provide emotional and practical support?
And- your way of thinking, stuck, catastrophic, unable to see the woods for the trees is indeed symptomatic of depression. I would return to the drs at this time point, possibly think about returning to the medication given you are now going downhill without it, and ask for counselling, even just the six free sessions may be enough to help you clear the way.
The alternative way to look at this is that your parents are kind enough to let you live at home even though you are depressed and that is difficult for them. expecting them to really be able to respond well and nicely to a depressed person is difficult as it does take a toll on others and they are not health professionals and may simply not now how to respond.
YOu need to start building up your own resilience and your own treatment so that you are in charge of your destiny, at the moment you are placing all responsibility for your happiness and recovery on your parents ('if only they would offer more support') and this is something they are not able to offer.
I don't think my sister wants to move on actually, she likes the attention.
My parents only want us to move out when we can buy (which requires stable jobs). A few weeks ago they mentioned how they were looking forward to when we moved out.
My sisters response was "Oh you don't really want us to move out do you Mummy" (would you believe she is in her 20s!)
She genuinely believes my parents want us to stay there permanently, and she is quite happy to stay, because she gets all the attention she wants.
"My parents only want us to move out when we can buy (which requires stable jobs)."
Well, that may be what your parents feel, but you don't have to agree. I expect that many people on this thread (including me) moved out when they got their first job and lived in a series of ropey flatshares/cheap rentals in their 20s. It was a great time of my life in many ways and really helped me grow up.
So what if your sister likes the attention? What's that got to do with you?
Equally so what if your parents want you to buy?
Definitely time to rent a place of your own. Buying is a nice idea but out of your reach.
Because she gets it, but doesn't need it.
And I don't get it, despite the fact that I am mentally quite unwell at the moment and nobody has even noticed or cared.
My parents will make my life very difficult if I don't do as they wish. It's hard to explain how, a lot of it is emotional. But if I think my life is unpleasant now, I know it will be worse being on the wrong side of my parents.
It's not up to your parents when you move out. You don't have to move out to buy at all, I didn't, I moved out aged 17 and lived in rental shares and bedsits in my twenties, they weren't grotty and I had an amazing time.
I don't see why you care what your sister does and what attention she gets, you can't change this and by staying, you are just having your nose rubbed in it. Wouldn't it be better to be the capable one and go off and get help for your depression and live a better life than be stuck at home squabbling like small children for the next few years?
Also, moving when I am in this mental state would be very hard.
I honestly don't have the energy or motivation right now to go find a place and pack and move out (which I would be doing 100% alone)
As you mentioned before, my depressed thinking is "stuck" and this would make it far harder to move out than for a happy healthy person.
You sound very enmeshed in this situation, notallthere... and I'd hazard a guess that living with your parents is making your depression worse, and indeed that your upbringing has contributed to it in the first place.
Do you have a counsellor or trusted friend you could talk to about these issues?
I don't see how your life can be worse- you say you are a scapegoat, your parents ignore you and your sister is a drama queen. How will it really be worse?
If the truth is that actually you do need the stability of your parent's house and their funds and their day to day support (cooking and cleaning) to live because of your mh issues, then I think at some level you will have to accept their house, their rules, their interaction with your sister. They are offering you to stay there and they don't have to, but the price you are paying is to keep you dependent and in like a permanent type of babyhood. This is not good for you in the long run.
I am not sure what you want from this thread as there is no way to change your sister or your parents, but as you don't want to leave the situation and are happy to remain stuck, this will just continue. Could you talk to a therapist/friend in rl for some ideas?
I care because it emotionally hurts.
To be up in my room unhappy and crying and nobody noticing, whilst my sister has a noisy tantrum downstairs and all the attention is on her.
It hurts that nobody notices.
I said upthread I think you need to seek help for your depression- NOT from your parents, who are unqualified and don't know what to do, but from medical professionals, or online support, or the MH team. Why not return to the drs and tell them you don't like your meds but are slipping back into depression and what can they suggest? See if there are any support groups for young people with depression in your area?
I think if you tackle your depression and at least stop the slide, this will then mean you can see the situation more clearly and make decisions either to leave, or stay and just ignore your sister's histrionics.
this sounds really unhealthy, and your sister though not necesarily 'depressed' is showing sympotoms of anxiety - just that she acts out rather than retreats. She sounds just as unhappy as you, but in a different way. From the outside it may look as if she is getting everything you are not - that the role of the golden child must be great, but it isnt. No more than being the scapegoat. You dont know that the attention she recieves from them is the 'right' kind of attention that she wants either - maybe she is feeling suffocated by having to be what they want her to be if they are so controlling.
I would take a look at the 'Stately Homes' thread and get a look at the 'Toxic Parents' book. You are both crying out for parenting that wasnt available or appropriate for you, and a wedge of resentment has been built between you by the situation, which is sad because, later down the line IF you both manage to get free of the situation, you may find some solidarity if the way you have been treated.
Blaming your sister focusses your attention in the wrong place - she is a victim of her upbringing as much as you are, but is your parents who are to blame here. That said you are both reaching the age where you need to put stuff in place to help you detatch and not let this ruin the rest of your life. Have you been offered or looked at councilling yourself? You can only really take responsibility for yourself. Your sister may never move on, and may continue to act the role that she has been allocated in the family dynamics. But that cannot be your problem.
But- their attention won't fix you anyway, and you do say when you are really ill they do pay you attention and it is the wrong sort.
Your parents can't do the right thing, and to be honest, I'm not sure giving you both large amounts of attention is the best outcome here anyway.
Your sister is not better off receiving the attention actually it is making her and her behaviour worse.
You need proper external help and support, from medical professionals and peer groups, looking to getting more attention off your parents won't help - they are probably clueless and quite upset themselves to be living in this situation.
I don't feel comfortable talking to a friend. My situation feels quite unique and I feel alone. None of my friends have issues like these, they are all happily moved out and don't really understand why I haven't.
I'm not sure how I would see a counsellor because I work ridiculously long hours in term time. (I'm a teacher).
I know it hurts notall but you can't change it. My older sister has no sn (well none diagnosed but I do wonder) and she calls the shots in my family. Everything she says goes and my younger sister and I have to just go along with it. If we complain we're "causing trouble" (because older sister must be appeased or she'll make my parents'life hell) and our problems are ignored. It's shit.
But I'm out of it now, my depression is gone. My sister still lives with my parents and they still tiptoe around her. It's pathetic.
I have looked at stately homes, but found it too long to read and too much to digest. I don't really get how you would follow a thread like that.
Cailin, you have basically summarised my sisters position in the family (except she is younger and does have diagnosed sn).
The only difference is that my older sister has recently started being bossy and taking on a pseudo-parent role, telling me off if I complain. I think she has done this because it elates her position in the family, and is effectively turning her into a third parent. I feel very alienated.
How old were you when you got out, and do you still keep in touch?
I know it's the depression talking, but here's the thing.
You're not special or different or fragile or without choices.
You are an adult woman and the only person who can change your situation is you.
The day I realised that was the day my real life started.
Get. A. Grip. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make the changes you need to. Start small but start somewhere.
You can do this.
Skint. Not helpful.
Having depression does make you much more emotionally fragile. And it also makes it far more difficult to make choices.
I know, I've been there. But no one can help you but you.
Sort some meds out, for a start. Then make changes. One foot in front of the other. Honestly. It's easy.
You're actually using masses of energy staying in the same situation. Redirect it.
Your situation is not that unique sadly....
you could try to fix some councilling sessions during school holidays.
if you are fairly young teachers then I am sure some of them must be in house shares - could you ask them to keep their ears open for any rooms coming up - people move around quite alot in their 20s, and although it wont be what your parents 'want' the fact that all the other people are doing it should help YOU to feel that the choice is a valid one. Things have changed a huge deal in the house buying market since your parents were in that situation - but there is little chance of making them understand that. If they are very controlling, and would use disapproval to control you emotionally, or the fact that you have 'chosen to leave the family' as a punishment, effectively cutting you off (this happened to me) then they will not have the mental capacity to comprehend that others life experiences are as valid or different from their closed ideas of 'how things should be' Similarly they want you to think/feel the same as they do. They view any contradiction as an assault and insult to them personally. The conflict arising from that can cause shame/guilt/confusion/anger and there are 2 ways to go from there - depression (your way) or anxiety/psychosis (your sister)
Please post on Stately Homes here
I moved out when I was 21 but I still lived in the same city and they still managed to drag me down. I then had a severe bout of depression when I was 25 and once again I was gven the "poor us we have a sick daughter" act and I was ignored. My psychiatric nurse said that as long as I expected them to change I wouldn't get better and she was dead right. I moved country with my dh and reduced contact. I now talk to them maybe once a month and see them once or twice a year. I tell them the barest details of my life. It works. Still shit though.
I'm a bit put off meds at the moment.
I've been on three.
Fluoxetine I've been on twice, first time it worked but the second time it just never kicked it, at which point I switched to
Escitalopram which worked for a while and I took it for a few years but I had a bout of depression despite being on the escitalopram and increasing dose to maximum it wasn't helping so I switched to
Mirtazapine which had unpleasant side effects in that it made me feel numb. I didn't feel happy, I didn't feel sad, I didn't feel anything. I came off it after about 3 months
After that the depression eventually cleared up on its own.
If I were to take meds again, I wouldn't know where to start.
"it also makes it far more difficult to make choices."
Difficult but not impossible. Do nothing often feels like the easy option but it's a choice like any other.
You could try doing the Shred. Twenty minutes per day of intense exercise. Some people react really positively to the endorphins, doesn't work for everyone but it might be a no meds way for you to treat your illness?
I suppose the problem is I'm worried I'm running too bit a risk, and the repercussions of moving out if it all went wrong would be pretty bad.
I am really struggling in my job at the moment due to the depression. I might end up having to leave. I have no back up plan. If I end up leaving, I will have to move back home and put up with "we told you so" because I will not be able to afford to live away from home. Plus I think moving out after being free for a bit will feel worse (I know coming home from uni did)
Skintorama, brilliant post
I know you must feel trapped notallthere but that doesn't mean you actually are. Where you live and what you do has nothing to do with your parents. The dynamic sounds more like an abusive controlling marriage then a parent child one
Your sisters behaviour would not affect you so much if you became independent. I also think you are being a little hard on your sister and she sounds genuinely ill, though I can also see why that knit of behaviour can be so upsetting
It does come to a point where helping yourself instead of waiting for things to change is the only option, not an easy one but necessary
Erm, you say you hide how you feel (physically and emotionally) from your family, but are 'hurt' that they don't notice when you feel bad.
Do you know why this is? It's because people aren't psychic. If you want support, you have to ask for it. It's your responsibility as an adult. You aren't a child (even if you are the child of the people you are seeking support from) and they can't play twenty questions and guess when/if you might be feeling bad. Your sister, as annoying as you find it, has the sense to let people know how she is feeling.
Stop expecting others to take this responsibility for you. They won't, and shouldn't. Your emotions, your responsibility.
You dont need to read the whole thread. people drop in and out of there as and when. the first posts have ALOT of useful links including the link for Susan Forward's book.
I would suggest going back to GP this week and asking for a councilling referral (you may have to really press for this) and to get your meds checked and back. This will probably help you to feel strong enough to start looking into carving yourself some independance.
It may be that you have to distance yourself from your family - even though you say you want their love and support. I suspect they have made you feel pretty worthless and secondrate, always below them and your sister. So when they DO focus attention on you it seems claustrophobic and possibly undeserving (as you have taken on that you are unworthy of recieving it) or you recognise the control where you have tried to be independant. This is a sure sign you need to move on. You will never get the attention you needed as a child from these people - they have failed you spectacularly as a child, but now it is not appropriate for you to be demanding childish attention. You need a period away from them, to find yourself, to find youre own voice, and to get the strength to return to see if you can control how they relate to you as an adult. If your sister remains in her childish role, that is up to her. She may not have the strength to do it herself. She may well have several more 'episodes' of hysterical behaviour. She may stay because she knows no different, or because the dysfunction fulfils something in her. But that is HER story and really, beyond recognition and a bit of irritation you need to stop making it paralyse you in bitter resentment.
Ask the GP, but I reckon you should give fluoxetine another try. Meds will help you get your thoughts together and make things less overwhelming. I would almost guarantee that your mental health will improve massively if you move out and more importantly detach.
"the repercussions of moving out if it all went wrong would be pretty bad."
Unpack that a little. Staying put means no support, spiralling depression, people you can't stand, IBS, hiding in bathrooms.... crap Moving out means your parents might jump up and down.... so what? You might have a relapse and lose your job.... there's JSA and Housing benefit, not to mention various allowances for people with conditions that affect their ability to work. There would be no reason to move back with parents.
Calin, I don't have a DH, or DP or anything.
If I moved away I would be all on my own. I'm a bit of a loner and don't find it easy to make friends (I have a few close friends, but no big groups) and I can imagine it would get very lonely.
My parents do have a habit of emotionally warping my thoughts slightly, especially as I am depressed. Deep down I know I would love to try teaching abroad. But my parents always say "Oh you wouldn't want to do that" so many times I know believe it is true.
Maybe it's me being dim but isn't Stately Homes thread for those with toxic parents? I haven't been on it so don't know. Surely Notallthere's parents arent toxic... imagine how difficult it is for them, juggling two daughters who need attention but then they are not giving the right sort of attention. Life must be pretty difficult for them too surely....
Notallthere - I have no idea how old you are but making the break is a necessity. Don't immediately jump in with "no, it's impossible" and it's not going to happen overnight but take small steps with that end in mind. It's a new year for you and it could be a new start and you might look back at the end of 2014 and realise this thread helped you turn your life round. Agree with Skint too... physical exercise can help and also as Cogito says - doing nothing is also a choice and not necessarily the right one.
OP... for someone who loathes their family so much, you seem to be incredibly determined to stay with them ...
did you not live away when at Uni?
Why would you have to go home if you lost your job?
If you take steps to improve your depression then I dont see why you risk losing your job anyway - you have done well to have qualified and to have found a position - that is a sucess. It sounds as if they expect you to fail. Even on a low wage you can get help and not need to go home.
I left at 19 when still at college. I have 'survived' on benefits for times but I have NEVER considered going back home until I was much older and rented a small annex to their house (for a VERY short time, I must add!!) Like CailinDana I told my parents very very little of my life to avoid the disapproval of my choices.
As a teacher why not try applying for things like VSO??
Rousette, I'm not sure if they are toxic or not.
They are kind of "borderline toxic" if that is such a thing.
The fact that when I am depressed they are not sorry for me, but sorry for themselves that they have a depressed daughter.
The fact that they emotionally make me feel I have to stay at home so much that even when everyone is saying the exact same thing that I should move out means they must be pretty controlling.
Go to your GP with the notes you put upthread about the meds and tell them that you're slipping back into depression. They should be able to advise on the best course of action from here: that's their job. If they don't know then ask them for an appropriate referral.
Keep up your job best you can. Go in, its one day at a time and get through the day. If its really impossible and you have chronic depression then next time you start feeling better you might want to think about a career change, but for now you just have to get through the days.
Once you are getting treatment for the depression you can start looking for a houseshare. Speak to friends, look around for people who want lodgers, are you still near your old university, have you looked on Gumtree? It doesn't matter that your parents want you to buy rather than rent, its not their life.
Does it occur to you that your parent think both you and your sister are damaged goods and that you are safest under their roof? Doesn't mean you have to agree with them but it doesn't make them controlling either.
I did live away at uni.
In my first year I lived in my parents choice of religious accommodation. I hated it. That was when I first had depression diagnosed (although I can now trace symptoms back to at least 11 years old)
In later years I lived with friends and in other halls, but never seemed to find a group of friends with whom I was happy, so moved every year.
I would have to go home if I had no job because I wouldn't be able to pay the rent.
PintOfTea (want one now!) that is spot on. OP don't look to fail - look to succeed by taking small steps to change your life. Whether that be going to the Doctor again, or taking your job one day at a time, it is all about trying to very very slowly change your mindset.
I just think that sometimes parents can't do right for doing wrong. Maybe they are just trying to care for you in a hamfisted way. OK it isn't the way you want but if you hide away in the bathroom perhaps they are trying to give you space.
If I had known about WWOOFing when I was younger then I am sure I would have given that a go UK site they also have lots of overseas opportunities
People with no jobs (or low paying jobs) rent quite happily using a thing called 'Housing Benefit'. Not everyone has the option of moving back home with the folks.... HB is not plain sailing, obviously, and there are certain restrictions but it allows thousands to live independently.
If you lost your job then you can get another one or if in the UK then there is housing benefit , or you could move back in with your parents, you've done it once when you finished uni. If they aren't willing to offer you that basic practical support then you are better off out of their house.
No, my parents really do want us to move out.
In the right way.
When we can afford to buy a property and preferably are married.
I want to move out, and my older sister does too. My younger sister doesn't, because she is the centre of attention and she enjoys that. She knows it will be hard to get that sort of attention anywhere else.
I think teaching abroad is an excellent idea. I worked abroad without my dh (then bf) and it did me the world of good.
Could not even begin to imagine the shame and horror my parents would feel if one of their children ended up on housing benefit!
Well... it must be hard for your parents to have THREE daughters who are in their 20's (if I've got that right) at home. I would imagine they are in their fifties or sixties and it isn't easy pleasing everyone. One of the three of you needs to be the first to make a move, perhaps it could be you notallthere.
Buy a place and be married as well? What throw-back, woman-hating religion is it they belong to exactly?
Are your parents very religious?
Do their feelings about how you should live/behave tie in with their religious beliefs (ie they are backed up by a wider community, rather than just being their own personal feelings)?
You don't have to tell them if you receive benefits, if they ask how you're funding it just be vague.
"Could not even begin to imagine the shame and horror my parents would feel if one of their children ended up on housing benefit!"
I don't anger easily but FUCK their 'shame and horror'. It's 2014 not the 1930s
I am not saying you should definitely move out, I suspect your parents don't know what to do with either of you, because they are ordinary human beings and depression/anxiety is hard to deal with- so they are doing what they can, which may not be ideal, and may not be enough, but they are putting a roof over both your heads after uni, so they are clearly not extremely unsupportive at all.
That doesn't mean this is the right place for you to live, they do sound like they have fixed ideas on how you should live your life and perhaps your limitations, which is precisely why people leave home! To move on and live their own lives, and not the versions of their lives their parents believe they should live.
I don't think it is controlling of them on its own to say live with us or don't move abroad. If you are worried and don't think you can live out of their home, they probably think the same and so are not encouraging you to live abroad out of the range of family and friends.
You all seem trapped and their solution to helping you is to keep you close at home but this is suffocating.
Get some treatment and then think about what you want to do next, whether it be move out, or live at home but in a happier way and caring less about what your sister is up to.
This is NOT their problem to solve any more, as they are adults, and even if they are flawed and crap it is still not their responsibility or even within their power to fix this.
They are not even that religious, just very traditional.
You absolutely need to get away from them.
They are not even that religious, just very traditional.
So were mine, like you wouldn't believe. That's why I moved out at 17 and lived on fresh air and coped.
There is a third, older sister?
Do you get on? Does she also suffer from depression or SN? How does she feel about it all?
Notallthere there are three of you, you have a professional job and have already left for uni. It is not that plausible that they can then keep you in til you are married. This is not a coercive situation, it is one where fear is keeping you there and perhaps the ease of living with family (financial, housework etc)- I suggest reading 'Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway' and getting help for your depression.
I know people from all kinds of traditional religious families, including very conservative ones, but in the main, the adult children grown up and leave- and they certainly don't tell their parents everything they get up to!!!
Notallthere... OK... if you could wave a magic wand, what do you want? Do you want to stay at home but for your sister to be less demanding and tantrum prone? Do you want to be independent and living your own life somewhere away from the home? Do you want your depression treated so you can make a move? I think you have to sit down and have a long hard think as to what you actually want.
I think part of the problem is because my family's main existence is caring about what my sister is doing, I find it hard to switch off from that.
Throughout my childhood, for as long as I can remember the focus has always been on her. She had extra language support before she was even school age, because my parents realised she had language problems. The conversation was always about how best to support her throughout her whole school career, and still continues today.
You do realise that that isn't your sister's fault?
Do NOT leave your job, make it your priority to tackle your depression enough to enable to you stay. If you end up unemployed your situation would be 10 x worse. I KNOW it's difficult but leaving work and sitting around at home all day would be so bad for your mental well being.
You are a teacher and live at home, why can you not afford therapy? If you don't want to take meds that's fine, I don't like them as a treatment on their own anyway but please get yourself to a therapist straightaway.
Also, why the fuck was your sisters counsellor discussing her with the family??!! That's ridiculous!!
Yes, that isn't.
But the attention seeking is. She will always make sure she is the centre of attention.
Notallthere- please go and get help for your depression. It is causing you to feel very sorry for yourself and self-pitying and victim-like and not be able to see the wood for the trees.
Your parents don't have much choice about caring for a SN child who still has paddies into her twenties- you are very resentful of this, which is why it would be much better for you to remove yourself from this.
You seem to be saying that you want to take on the role of the ill/depressed/sick person in the house, but that would be very unhealthy for you who is also in your twenties.
You only seem to exist in your own mind in relation to your family- what about making you and your life the main event? What are your goals? Would you like a family?
I think you need to see the GP about counselling to set you on the right path as currently your obsession with how your family treat your sister is negatively impacting you and not making you better.
Jacey, it was with my sisters permission.
It was because it was affecting the whole family, we were all struggling to deal with her uncontrollable tantrums.
I don't want to be the depressed person. I don't want to be depressed at all.
But if I am unlucky enough to be suffering from depression, it would be nice to have some support once in a while.
Jacey, it's a time issue r.e. therapy, not a money issue.
I usually leave the house at 7:15am, and get home around 6:30pm. Then I work for a few hours each evening and the weekend. No time for counselling.
notallthere- ring the doctors, or look at BACUP and ring a counsellor in your area today.
You are not listening to the posters.
Your parents are probably overwhelmed by having a SN adult who is still having tantrums, another dd who is depressed and an older sibling who is also not independent. They may be rubbish parents, they may not, but they won't have room to give emotional support to all of you- so you will need to get it elsewhere.
I'm sorry they don't pay you attention, but attention has not helped your sister, has it?
Take an active step towards seeing the GP or a counsellor rather than continuing to post on here, because I don't think we can help you given that your perspective is very skewed by depression.
Your excuses about counselling are not plausible, I am also a lecturer and although I work long hours, I also have a family and children to look after- you can make a 2 hour slot on Sat or Sunday as a priority.
Or one evening after 7pm, or the holidays which are long (not for me but they are for teachers).
I know your helplessness is just a symptom of your depression- what will kick you out of it? Make a phone call, look at counsellors online.
I hope you find something you can change in this situation, being cross about your sister is going to get you absolutely nowhere. Best of luck.
Hmm, I think I remember one of your previous threads. Didn't you only need a bit more money for a decent deposit? If that's the case then you and your older sister should pool your money together and buy a 2 bed flat together somewhere AT LEAST 1 hour's drive away - you really don't want your parents to be there controlling what you do.
Trust me, I know what I am talking about. I came from a very strict religious upbringing and only moved out of home when I was married. For me it worked out, but that lack of ability to stand on your own has meant that two of my sisters chose complete arseholes for husbands and are now divorced. You need this, you REALLY need this.
The financial aspect is such a small part of it, you need to be able to stand on your own two feet emotionally. You will ONLY be able to do that if you get away from them and live on your own/or share as an EQUAL.
Alternatively, as you're a teacher, perhaps a live in role somewhere? Boarding schools have house masters which need to live in.
My parents aren't overwhelmed by my depression. How can they be when they haven't even noticed?
Yes I did talk on a previous thread about a deposit. I am working towards that, but at the moment my depression is so bad I am risking losing my job, so I wouldn't be able to pay a mortgage or rent.
I do actually work in a boarding school, but I currently am not in a position to apply for a live in role, until I sort the depression out.
I don't want to live with my older sister. As I mentioned earlier, she has recently become rather bossy, dominant and starting to take on controlling traits of my parents. She will tell me what to do, and tell me off if I don't do it. It's a shame because we used to get on quite well, but unless she starts behaving like a sister instead of a parent, I wouldn't want to live with her.
Also, I don't want my parents to know I am hang counselling because I will have to put up with their warped "woe is me my daughter has depression" act and I can't be bothered with that.
So don't tell them. You can go in the evening and say your at a class or something. Or working late. Or just nothing at all, you don't have to tell them everything. Just please , please stay in work, I can't emphasise this enough.
Ok, you need to stop, step back and think.
Picture a glass, water half way.
Is it half full or half empty?
Right now every time someone makes a suggestion you knock it back. You have become conditioned to think of everything as half empty. Whether it be upbringing, depression, your own personality, whatever. Stop it.
Look at that glass, and it is also half full.
Have a look at all of the suggestions, they may not work out exactly as offered, but with a bit of tweaking they may be possible. Or they may be something you could work towards. Of the negatives which you keep going on about may be outweighed by the positives, but you just find it hard to believe that.
Try to make your life half full instead of half empty.
Maybe your parents find your sister hard work and that is why they feel sorry for themselves.
I'll be honest that you sound rather like my middle sister "woe is me" but won't help herself in the least. Middle child syndrome at its best.
There have been many posters who have helped you on this thread and your other threads all saying the same thing. You just won't listen.
It's a new year: sit down and make a list of what you wish to achieve this year. Get some counselling and do done exercise to get the endorphins helping your mood. You need to help yourself before you can sort out family issues and deal with your issues with regards to your younger sister and now your older sister.
Telling people that they aren't being helpful is because they are telling you the truth but you don't want to hear it. Skin gave some fantastic advice further up. Read it properly as it's excellent advice. You're being rude by saying it's not helpful.
The thing is whether your parents and your sister(s) are right or wrong you can't change them. You can't change how they behave or react to each other, only they can do that.
What you can change is yourself. You can either change this internally by reminding yourself that you can't change them, by mentally blocking them out or by getting out of the house for the time the drama is going on or living elsewhere. You don't sound like you currently have the mental energy for the first two options so you need to start getting out of the house for headspace.
The only other option is to carry on as you are, but accept that this is your choice. Not your parents' or your sisters' but yours. No-one is suggesting that because how you are living at the moment sounds so bloody miserable, but its still a choice you can make.
Starting with getting treatment for the depression, even if you just assess your options with the GP then don't take any of them, is probably a good first step if you want anything to change.
I mean this with kindess and encouragement, but you seem to be what my colleagues and I would call a 'yes, but-er' meaning that any suggestions are met with a 'yes, but...' And we end up in this stupid ping pong game of us putting a idea out and you batting it back ad infinitum.
It's not your 'fault' you are like this, it sounds as though your parents have created this family culture of dependency/ co-dependency that both benefits and restricts all of you. But in order to feel different, you have to start doing things differently. Start today, go to BACPs website and find a local counsellor you like the look of and email them. Do it!
The problem is that you won't sort your depression out by living at home if that's the cause or one of the causes of your depression.
I don't think the Jewish thing is relevant, but FWIW I also come from a not very observant Jewish background. My father died when I was at university and I have no siblings. I was living at home during university and felt obliged to stay. My mother then became disabled and I was her main caregiver and financial support. I am self-employed so it took me a while to establish myself and my income is still very irregular. My mother wanted me to convert the top floor of the house into a flat and stay with her as this is what she did with her parents (it didn't make her happy but she sort of forgot that once she was in their position rather than mine!). In the end I lived with her well into my thirties, because I couldn't bear to hurt her by moving out, despite the fact that living on my own (i.e. not in a flatshare and not with a partner) was something that I had always wanted and planned to do.
In the end, I found a partner who supported me in achieving this (we now live together but didn't for a year after I moved). I sorted out care and support for my mother and found a way to move out that allowed me to continue to support her financially. I moved into a flat which my mother would almost certainly have considered wasn't good enough, in an area that she loathes. She was obviously disappointed that my partner didn't move in with us and missed me a lot; I obviously felt very guilty - but I also felt free to do what I wanted for the first time in my life, not because she was appalling as a housemate but just because I was in complete control of my space and of my decisions in respect of everything from food to music.
I say this because I read you as being (a) frightened of the financial side of it and (b) very frightened of disappointing your parents. With regard to (a), cost it. I can tell you now that you will be able to afford something that will make you happy, whether it's a flat to yourself or a houseshare.
With regard to (b) - you need to get over it. I understand how hard that is, but if your parents only want you to move out when you've got the money for a house and "ideally" are getting married - you could be waiting a long time, sadly, especially if you're London-based.
I know my mother wishes I'd made other choices, but I feel that in a sense I've got her back, because I don't feel burdened by resentment and guilt and we treasure the time that we spend together.
Will they be disappointed? Yes, probably. It doesn't matter. Do it anyway. They'll survive and so will you.
Both you and your sister appear to have grown up in and are still living in a household with self-absorbed/toxic/unhelpful/whatever parents. You have adapted to this situation by keeping to yourself and hoping they will one day realise that they aren't giving you the support you need. She has adapted to the same situation by being excessively demanding of their support for conditions that she feels she has. I think I'd be pitying of your sister's desperate attempts to get attention rather than jealous and keep out of it.
You have said that you don't want to be like your sister, or even tell your parents that you are ill because you don't think their reaction will be helpful to you. That is a valid choice. You can even be disappointed that they are so wrapped up in your sister's dramas and their own that they haven't noticed you have your own problems and that you suspect that they wouldn't be helpful even if they had.
But that is who they are. You cannot change that. You can only change how you react to it.
You can sit them down and explain your feelings to them and ask them to be reasonable.
Or you can continue to keep your head down and plan to leave this toxic situation as soon as you've scrapped together a month's deposit for rental and accept they won't like it.
Or you can be miserable and ill for the time required to save a deposit for buying a home (years and years?!?)
Or maybe you can think of some more options?
Depression can also really affect one's thinking though. I mean you have needs that aren't being met. You wish your parents would meet these needs but you are so afraid of them not doing so that you will not express them and even go to lengths to hide them (to protect their feelings apparently). Instead you expect them (or have fantasies about them, even if you don't expect it) to suddenly become mind readers and detectives to discover the problems you are hiding from them and your preferred method of support despite evidence to the contrary that they are not this perceptive or empathetic.
I think you either need to tell them about your problems and the ways they could support you and find out whether they will do so, or you need to realise that you not telling them is a choice to be more private and stoic than your sister and not expect them to suddenly understand you while you arrange to live somewhere else and get the support you need from other people.
It hurts that they seem to care more about your sister than you. But you also recognise that she fulfills a role for them ("how terrible it is that we have an ill daughter") and they aren't really caring about her as a person or really helping her.
They seem to take you both at face value. She comes across as vulnerable, ill and needy so they respond. You come across as healthy, coping and independent. So they assume you are.
Please do consider moving out as soon as you feel able, as it will help to not deal with your parent's unfairness and drama day to day. In the mean time do try to get help and support outside your family, through counselling and informally through friends. Hope the new year allows you to look ahead and start forging a life for yourself outside your immediate rather suffocating family.
They know I am struggling with my job, as I have told them, so it would be odd for them to assume that I am "coping". Their attitude is just that I have to pass this NQT year, there isn't really an alternative.
They also know that I spend a massive amount of time up in my room rather than downstairs being sociable. Now I don't expect them to be mind readers, but I would expect most people to be concerned when someone they know has a history of depression is choosing to distance themselves from everyone else.
The fact that I literally only come down at meal times, and almost no other time should be a good indicator. That I hardly ever go out with my friends and stayed in at New Year's. Most people would notice and ask the person if they were ok, especially if that person has a previous history of similar behaviour with depression. But the fact that my parents don't notice or care is just because they are so wrapped up in my sister's non-problems.
Although I agree that my parents attitude doesn't actually benefit my sister in the long run, at least temporarily it does benefit her because she has everyone's attention, which is exactly what she wants. It's hard to pity someone who always gets exactly what they want, even if they want the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. It's far easier to be jealous of someone who gets what they do not need whilst you always go without.
I remember your previous thread. The issue really isn't your sister at all, and I think your resentment of her is clouding your perception of what is actually going on.
The dynamics in your family sound really unhealthy. I think the very best thing you could do would be to detach from them as much as possible and develop your own identity separate from them. You may view withdrawing from your family as a negative, but actually I would say that the less time you spend with them at this point the better.
It seems as though you are stuck, emotionally speaking, at a point in adolescence and you never successfully broke away from their influence. Counselling could really assist you in understanding the family dynamics, IMO. But TBH, I believe that the very best thing you could do would be to move away from your family and strike out on your own.
Elk, I think it's partly my sister, and partly my parents.
They feed her attention seeking, and she allows/ encourages them to do so. It's impossible to say how much of her attention seeking is part of her SN, and how much is just her personality (my uncle sometimes acts in a similar way, perhaps it is just a family trait). I suppose I blame her because if she didn't behave in this way, family life would be different. I know this is actually my parents fault for treating us in this way, but I can't help but think that if she didn't act in this way, my life would be slightly easier to manage.
I already mentioned on this thread that I can't switch of from thinking about my sister, simply because it has been the focus of my family for almost my entire life. All my life the focus has always been on her, I know no other way to think. Whenever we did anything, the focus was always on her, and it still is.
For example, my older sister and I went away, and encouraged the rest of the family to come too. But because my sister decided she did not want to go, my parents didn't go either. (NB she lives away from home at university, so no concerns about her not being able to cope being left by herself for a few days).
So it is hard for me to focus on myself, and looking at what is best for me, because I have been brought up to only think about my sister with special needs and what is best for her.
I disagree with you that 'having everyone's attention' is good for your sister, 'having everyone's attention' isn't good for anyone unless 'everyone' is a qualified psychologist or doctor and they can actually do something to improve your condition.
Having everyone's attention won't make a blind bit of difference to ill health imo.
Can you speak to someone outside your home circle about a career or future plans??
Parents are limited to what they have experienced in their own lives. You need to be looking outwards for help and encouragement for the future, not at home. Is there anyone at work who might have some ideas?
It's worth mentioning with my uncle, who is my dad's brother and in his 5os who is in his 50s, that he currently lives with my grandparents and refuses to get a job and move out.
He is a massive strain on my elderly grandparents. The problem is they have pandered to him his whole life and are still e.g. giving him money to go out and do stuff, let him use their car etc. Ironically, my mother is irritated with him and thinks my grandparents needed to kick him out long ago. What she doesn't realise is that she is doing the same thing with my sister.
I can basically see my sister turning into my uncle, as she also expects e.g. money for stuff (she has a student allowance, but she doesn't know how to manage her money and spent it on too many clothes) and it frustrates me that my parents are allowing it to happen, when they can see the result this pandering has on the family.
I hear that what you are finding stressful is your parents' focus on your sister's life-long SN. But you can't change that. You can't argue them out of focussing on that. All you can do is reduce your own involvement in that game if it is detrimental to your own mental health.
Going away in spite of their staying at home was a very good step in that.
I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking about this at work, or to my friends.
Even though it appears from mumsnet that difficult family situations are actually not uncommon, everyone I speak to has a good relationship with their family, and are especially close to their siblings. I think some of them must be lying.
They're not necessarily lying. Close families exist. But in my experience the vast vast majority of people have trouble of some sort with their siblings. The thing is once they move out of home and get their own life that trouble becomes irrelevant and usually with a bit of distance and maturity sibling relationships improve. You're still stuck in a very childish dynamic withvyour sisters, mostly due to your parents it seems.
What sns does your sister have?
But where does talking about how badly your sister behaves or how awful your parents are get you? This is how your sister is. This is how your parents are. Either you can live with them knowing that they behave like this or you can't. Children and teenagers have to vent about stuff like this because they lack agency and can't move to a better situation. But you're an adult, and you will run out of sympathetic ears if you keep complaining about stuff that can't be changed whilst rejecting suggestions about the stuff that can be changed.
It doesn't have a name. That's the frustrating thing.
She has some learning difficulties, language processing difficulties, some traits of dyspraxia, aspergers etc.
But she doesn't really fit any diagnosis. Which makes it especially hard sometimes because nobody really understands.
At least if she had e.g. aspergers I could say "She has aspergers" and most people would have some idea of what my family have to deal with. But just saying "she has some learning difficulties/ special needs" nobody really understands what I mean, because that is so broad, and I don't want to go into details.
As you said, "I know this is actually my parents fault for treating us in this way." I think you're right.
To look at things from your parents' POV, they are probably desperately worried about your sister and concerned for her future due to her SN. They may have become accustomed to seeing you as the reliable and stable daughter who doesn't cause them the same kind of concern, and perhaps you have grown used to playing that role. Family dynamics can be tricky when one child has such identifiable needs.
My family situation is different, but my eldest brother is on the autism spectrum. He is intellectually more than capable of an independent life, but socially and emotionally he really struggles. I think that my parents should have encouraged him toward independence when he was younger, but their worry about him and feelings of guilt (misplaced, IMO) meant that they tried to protect him. As a result, he still lives with them, and I very much doubt he will ever have an independent life. And that makes me very sad for him.
I left for university at 17 and since then I've never lived with my parents. We have a good relationship, and I admire my eldest brother a great deal though I still wish he were living a different kind of life.
Anyway, I'm sure you really wouldn't want to live your sister's life, as she sounds very unhappy. Since you can't change how your parents interact with her or with you, it's possible only to change how you interact with and think about them. It's difficult to rewrite deeply ingrained patterns of thought, but it really is possible.
Spindly, I was never given the opportunity to vent when I was younger, I was just told I was being intolerant of her special needs and it was my problem (if I bring it up now I am still told that).
Even though we knew for years that my sister had these problems, my older sister and I were never given any support (I know some siblings of people with special needs are encouraged to meet other siblings)
Also the problem I mentioned before: her special need has no name. I can't say "My sister has aspergers, it's difficult sometimes" because it isn't true.
I remember learning about autism at school (we were studying the MMR controversy) and they asked if anyone knew anyone with aspergers or autism. But I couldn't raise my hand because although she has traits of aspergers and autism, she does not have either, so I would be lying to say so.
It is hard when you've got a sibling with special needs. My best friend had a sister with Downs, who she adored but ended up caring for all the time, and my younger cousin has Aspergers and ADHD which involved titanic tantrums that made his sister's home life incredibly difficult. This was twenty or thirty years ago so there wasn't any sibling support back then either, you were just left to cope as best you could. So I do sympathise with child and teenage you, yes. But what both of the people I've mentioned did was to move out as soon as they could, because they recognised that the situation was not going to change and if they wanted something else they'd have to go somewhere else to get it.
I'm sorry to keep coming back to that, but you are describing a situation where the only thing that you can change is what you do about it. You can analyse your sister and your parents and their dynamic up hill and down dale but it isn't going to change them.
I think you have to face it that you aren't going to get th support you want from your family. No one is going to solve your depression problem but you. I speak from experience. There is no knight in shining armour. There is no one else who is going to save you. Support is nice but you don't need it.
I think you know you need to move out. You don't need anyone's approval.
If you wait for your depression to go away you will never get better. Life isn't put on hold. Small steps and make a plan. Actively stop thinking about your sister. Stop thinking you are going to lose your job. You are giving your family too much power and denying how much you have.
There are 2 phrases that help me daily:
As you think so shall it be.
To dream of the person you ought to be is to waste the person you are.
You have a choice - stay stuck and co ntinue to be the victim. Or take control. It won't be easy. But you are worth the effort, aren't you?
I think that when you sit alone in your bedroom, you are secretly hoping that sooner or later, your mum or dad might come upstairs to see how you are doing, put their arm around you and give you the unconditional love and support you have always wanted from them.
It's not going to happen though, and as sad, hurtful and frustrating as that may be, I think that once you can accept that that is they way they are, you will be able to move on (emotionally and physically).
You've said that it is hard to see things in any way other than to focus on your sister, because that is the way it has always been, but you do have the power to break that pattern - try to put yourself first in your mind, instead of dwelling on the shortcomings of your sister and parents.
I do feel for you - it must have been horrible to feel sidelined in favour of your sister from an early age, but as everyone on the thread seems to be saying, once you are away from this very claustrophobic family dynamic, I think your depression will improve. Please accept that it is your situation at home that is making you feel so helpless and lost - then you will be able to move on. Good luck.
Could not even begin to imagine the shame and horror my parents would feel if one of their children ended up on housing benefit!
So don't tell them. You're an adult woman and how you fund your life is your own business.
I've been depressed. I also have genuinely toxic parents. I got out and stayed out and haven't needed either antidepressants or counselling for years now. I'm happily married to someone lovely. Skint is right and she is helpful - saying "there, there" is to help you with the interior decor of the pit that is your current life, instead of offering you a ladder.
Move out. See a GP and get some help - ask about the meds again. ENlist on an exercise class and go as if your life depended on it - endorphins really can lift mood. If you have a coffee habit, go decaf for a while; it causes anxiety if already prone, too much caffeine. Join a book club; it's a great way to meet intelligent, interesting women. What do you like doing, really and truly? Baking? Clandestine Cake Clubs are all over the country. And so on. You are choosing to wallow, please believe me when I say I know how terrifying alternatives are but that's just the reality: nobody will improve your life for you, no magic wand or fairy godmother will appear. You have to do this for yourself, and small, simple steps like a new place to live, a weekly exercise class and a weekly hobby meeting will provide you with some of the structure you need to feel less lonely, less stuck and less desolate. Your life circumstances are depressing, no question, but if you don't change them then they aren't about to change. Full stop. You have to be the one to step up and start the ball rolling on your new, better life.
OP, have you ever considered being assessed for Asperger's yourself?
Your rigidity of thought on this thread reminds me very much of a friend who has AS and my DD1 who also has it. It might be worth you Googling Tony Attwood and reading what he says about girls/women with AS.
OP, only YOU can change this.
You are a teacher. An intelligent, hardworking person.
You have the power to break free from this.
You don't need to tell your parents anything YOU ARE AN ADULT NOW.
Go to your GP. Tell them your depression has returned, they may well suggest different meds, more newer ones.
Then when you feel better, get the Hell out!!!
OP, you are so embroiled in this obsessive blame and negativity towards your parents and sisters, particularly the one with SN, that you are either incapable to, or refusing to, see your part in this.
Here are a few things that are very obvious to me (and Ihave said some of them in your previous threads):
It's not your sister's fault she has SN. You say she is attention-seeking, but people with SN do require more attention. Some of their behaviours and needs, which they may have no control over, or poor control over, or little or no awareness of, may well be attention-seeking. My brother has Asperger's and ADHD, and outsiders would call his normal self and behaviour very attention-seeking. But he really doesn't know he is doing it, couldn't understand why it was attention-seeking and wouldn't be able to change it. He is a highly intelligent man with a good job and a family, btw.
You must surely be able to see how illogical it is to seethe that your parents don't notice that you are depressed, but then you list all the various ways in which you totally hide it from them. You talk about how they 'must' notice that you are depressed and yet don't show it. You cannot presume that they notice when you go to such great lengths to hide it. It is incredibly unfair to be angry with them for not noticing when you hide it. And you cannot be angry with your sister for taking all the attention, attention which you clearly want a share of, when you are taking extreme measures to ensure that no attention befalls you. You are testing your parents and setting them up for a fall.
You say they don't notice you are depressed but then you say their only reaction to it is to feel sorry for themselves. How can they react like that if they don't know?
If it's true they do feel sorry for themselves, then, although that must be upsetting and unhelpful, they are only human. You are from a culture where mothers especially obsess about their children, are trained to blame themselves and feel overly responsible for their children, and where marriage is the pinnacle of female achievement. They have three adult daughters still at home, unmarried, one they know has had depression in the past and might have it now and is a martyr who won't help herself (you), and another has SN, and will probably never marry and they'll have to look after her forever, and will be worrying more with each passing year about what will happen when they're gone. So it is understandable, even if it's crap, that they might feel sorry for themselves.
You say they should be able to tell you're depressed because you stay in your room a lot, don't go out and so on. But you say you are a loner, don't really have many friends, don't make friends easily, and you belong to a culture where females are more restricted than the norm in terms of freedom to socialise, and stuff like that. Thus, your habits and behaviour would just seem perfectly normal for you. Add to this your determination to hide your depression from them, and it'd be more surprising that they would guess you were depressed, not the other way round.
You sound like you are hoping and waiting for them to notice that you are selfless and thoughtful and a martyr, and they will fall at your feet crying and begging your forgiveness, and then they will give you the exact type and amount of love, attention and support that you need. This is never, ever going to happen. You can only change your own behaviour, no-one else's. If you want them to notice you are depressed, if you want more attention, if you want other stuff from them, you have to tell them, ask them, you have to behave in ways that make those things possible for others to see the need in you, or want to give them to you.
You say that they 'emotionally make' you feel certain pressures. I have had lifelong depression and know that this is one of the classic delusions of depression. Also, no-one can make you feel anything, you are responsible for your own reactions.
Your elder sister might be behaving like a second mother for several reasons: she might have spotted your depression and need for attention and be trying to help you in a cack-handed way. Or, she might be very frustrated at living at home at her age, and is trying to assert herself as an adult in one of the only ways that that can manifest itself. Or it could be a mixture. Or it could just be your perception.
You CAN move out. You could live on housing benefit, or a range of benefits (well, probably not under this bloody government, but that's another thread). You could do things very differently. You have a job, you love at home and rarely go out, you must have at least an adequate amount of money in your account. Yes, they might well guilt-trip you, and make your life miserable at first when you move out, or make changes, BUT... Whether you never try, or you give in if they act badly, or whether you make a success of it is 100% and forever YOUR responsibility. Yu can stay at home fuming about 'how' people should notice you, treat you, support you, and 'how' your sisters should and shouldn't behave, and listing all the reasons and excuses to put yourself off,but the long and short of it is, it's you who are choosing this life and staying in it. You who could choose it. Has staying at home fuming and coming up with excuses changed anyone? Changed the situation? Helped you in any way? No, and it won't do in the future.
I've had depression, and Mh issues, as I've said, so I recognise a lot of the thinking and patterns you describe, and believe me, most of the problems aredown to your thinking, the rest of it down to factors that you will never be able to control. So take control of your own life and mind instead.
Goldmandra, I posted and thought "Bugger, meant to mention the Op sounds a bit Asperger's" and then saw your post...
Goldmandra, I posted and thought "Bugger, meant to mention the Op sounds a bit Asperger's" and then saw your post...
Glad it's not just me, Oxford.
Actually reading your post has highlighted more reasons to consider it, i.e. the OP being disappointed because her parents don't automatically know she is depressed and her feeling of being a loner who doesn't make friends easily.
OP, depression is quite common in people with AS, especially those who are undiagnosed. A greater understanding of yourself and the root of your own difficulties, if it is AS, could go a long way towards improving life for you.
I do recognise certain personality traits in myself similar to aspergers, however it is possible that they are just my natural personality, or that they are influenced by the depression.
I am very intelligent, never had any academic issues in school (some social ones, they were ignored), therefore as I was always achieving academically, nobody would have seen a need to have me assessed for any sort of SN.
There would never be any point getting my being assessed, as my parents would only tell me I was attention seeking myself and trying to copy my sixte. when I was younger, if I ever misbehaved, they would always tell me I was jealous of her and to stop copying her.
However, if I did have aspergers, it would only reinforce that my sister can control her attention seeking behaviour and she is as much to blame as my parents, as I don't act the way she does.
I don't understand why my spending all my time in my room and not socialising would hide my depression, if anything these are key signs to look out for that someone may be depressed.
I think my parents do "emotionally make" us live at home. It is not a "delusion" due to depression. Otherwise, how can you explain why my older, healthy non SN sister with a full time not (not that well paid, but stable and enough for rent) still lives at home?
I don't think my elder sister is acting this way because she is "trying to help", I think it is much more likely due to frustration. Like me, almost all her friends are living independent lives without their parents, and she is the one stuck at home. So she is probably taking this out on me out of frustration, it can't be easy living with a sister with depression and a sister with SN. I do wish that as the oldest she would move out, it would make it easier for me if she had done it already.
OP, how is your job affecting all this?
NQT year is incredibly stressful and all-consuming; how are you managing it with all this stuff going on in your head?
Moreover, how is the stress of being an NQT impacting on your depression? Could this be a cause?
NQT is stressful, and the stress may be a trigger of depression getting worse, but it's not the cause.
I was diagnosed with depression aged 18, but can trace symptoms back to aged at least 11. I wasn't doing my NQT then!
OP, the way you talk about how you can control yourself so if you theoretically have Asperger's then she should be able to as well, is ironically a very Asperger's way of looking at it. Far too black and white and simplistic and unable to really understand the nuanced difference of others.
1) Just because two people have the same condition does not mean that they will express it the same way, or be able to control it the same way. If you took two asthmatics, and one needed a daily nebuliser, and the other just carried and inhaler that they rarely used, you wouldn't say that the nebuliser user should be able to control themselves so they could cope with just the occasional puff of Ventoline because the mild asthmatic can. Like all conditions, physical, mental, or neurological, the AS spectrum is incredibly varied and each person on it expresses and experiences that uniquely.
2) You say that your sister doesn't actually have ASD, but has aspects of it, plus aspects of several other conditions and problems. So any comparison between her issues and your theoretical ASD are pointless. She has a much more serious and broad range of issues than you do.
You sound almost intoxicated with rage at the unfairness (or perceived) unfairness of having a SN sibling. The way you go on and on about how she could or should control herself is deeply upsetting and troubling to read, not just because it's horrible (and I'm sure you love her too), but because to keep telling yourself all these misconceptions must be so self-destructive, so corrosive. I would bet that a good deal of your depression comes just from your central fixations, which seem to be A) My sister has SN, but could control herself if she really wanted to, so she uses it as a way of getting all my parents' love, time and attention and B) I try to be so good, so perfect, I hide all my problems, etc., etc., and no-one sees that I'm special, worthy, good, perfect, no-one gives me the love and attention that I deserve more than her. I'm not saying this nastily, just that I've seen several of your threads, and these are the two things that you go over and over and over time and again, refusing to consider the slightest possibility of looking at them differently. I think you just want people to tell you it's all shit, you're a martyr, and make you feel the love and attention you feel you've never got snd still don't.
Your family are not making you feel like this, YOU are making yourself feel like this.
But aspergers is a widly sliding scale - I have friends who have children with AS and they are as different in behaviour and abilities as 2 NT people - why would you and your sister be the same, and why should she be able to control her behaviour just because you can. She can keep it is as easily as you can scream and shout and express your emotions. Many many AS people never get a diagnosis because they do not tick all the right boxes. And if you DID have it, why even mention it to your parents? Unless you are hoping it would make them give you more attention, that it would equal up the balance? Getting a diagnosis of anything is surely, as an adult, more to do with understanding yourself, of understanding who you are and how you relate to the wider world, of learning coping strategies to help you step out as a functioning human being. Its not a label to score points against your sister. The idea is to help you, to move you away from this sibling rivalry/jealously competitive thing that you have going on with her over attention.
Coming in late to the discussion here, notall, but you mentioned a while back that you work in a boarding school but would not be eligible for a residential teaching post 'until the depression is sorted' - why is this? Surely if you are functioning as a teacher there, and willing to live in, then a diagnosis of depression is neither here nor there? It seems such a neat solution to your situation...,
There would never be any point getting my being assessed, as my parents would only tell me I was attention seeking myself and trying to copy my sixte. when I was younger, if I ever misbehaved, they would always tell me I was jealous of her and to stop copying her.
Sorry to be so blunt about this but this is not about your parents.
This is about you, your life and your perception of yourself. You are your own person. You wouldn't have to tell your parents anything about any assessment because it is nothing to do with them unless you want it to be.
Even if you don't go for an assessment please consider reading about it. My DD1 is very, very academically able but still needs support. Her diagnosis was the greatest gift she has ever received because it enabled her to see herself and the social world in a new light. The assessment process itself answered an awful lot of questions about her for me and for herself. It felt like her whole life suddenly made sense, like the missing pieces had been put into a jigsaw and we could suddenly see the whole picture.
If you go for an assessment, do it for you. If you chose not to go, do that because it is the right decision for you, nobody else.
It's not a case of scoring points. But I do know I have underachieved in life (my older sister has too, but not as much as me) whereas my younger sister has probably overachieved as nobody thought she would even get GCSEs and yet she is doing a degree.
There seems to be a link between the amount of support we are given and how we have achieved relative to our ability. Part of me wishes if my parents could fix the disparity in how they treat us, they may be able to even up the balance a little. Admittedly I will never get the high degree result I should have been capable of getting, but maybe if I had their support I could at least hold down a professional job.
I think rage is a bit of an overreaction, frustration would be a better word. I am incredibly frustrated with the unfairness of the situation. I do love my sisters, and my parents, but it is incredibly frustrating to be treated this way, and know the impact it has had on my life, and that there is nothing I feel I can do to change it. Moving out won't change it, if anything I will get even less support.
walk, I am really struggling with the job due to the depression and I have been told I may not pass my NQT, in which case the school would sack me (they can't employ a teacher who failed)
So I am currently not up to standard, therefore not in a position to be applying for a promotion.
Also my parents have told me I don't want to live in a boarding school so often I almost believe it.
Sweetheart, how do people with dead parents, parents they never see, parents who they have to support and care for, parents they are estranged from, abusive, bloody awful parents, manage to achieve stuff? How do they manage to hold down professional jobs and do well at university?
Support and attention from one's parents is a great thing. But if you didn't do as well at uni as you hoped, or you are struggling with your job, then those things are totally down to YOU. Nothing to do with them. If your family situation is making you depressed and the depression has held you back, and still holds you back, then it is still totally down to you to either get help for the depression, or accept that your life hasn't gone to plan becUse you won't get help for the depression.
Your parents are not responsible for how well you work, either st university, or professionally. No other person in the world is responsible for what you do and what you achieve and what you can cope with.
You seem to have decided that all the problems and failings in your life are down to you not getting the amount of support and attention that you would find optimal. But this is unrealistic, as well as deeply immature. No-one gets their ideal amount and type of support and love and attention from their parents. Until you realise and accept that, and realise and accept that your life will go further and further down the drain if you must stay stuck in this mental bind, this irate passivity, believing they are responsible for your feelings and achievements, and should make everything you want in life happen exactly the way you want it to, then you will be stuck there,depressed and stuck in your room fuming that they should somehow psychically intuit that you need them when you deliberately make sure that they don't perceive you as needing them, and posting on here and getting the same advice ad infinitum that you will dismiss and ignore ad infinitum.
You feel that there is nothing you can do to change it, but the reason why this is driving you crazy with frustration is that you are demanding that everyone else in the situation changes (whilst ensuring that no-one knows you want it to change!) - when the ONLY person you can make change is yourself. If you are the one who thinks this situation is problematic and you want change, you cannot demand others comply, even if you believe it is their fault. YOU make the changes. Stop sitting about fuming at the unfairness and wanting them to support you, and wanting your sister to miraculously not be herself, stop focusing on what is wrong with everyone else and how they should change, and start focusing on what needs to change within yourself and what you can do to make those changes.
That's the only way things will ever change. If your whole family were immortal, you'll be stuck like this in a million years, unless YOU change. You are waiting for them to see that it is unfair and change and to be different towards them. Make the changes that either force that or make your life so much better and different that it won't matter if it doesn't happen.
So what if your parents say you wouldn't like living in a boarding school? If you pass, move in. They cannot stop you. Jesus, if you pass, you have an incredibly easy way and reason to move out.
I am incredibly frustrated with the unfairness of the situation. I do love my sisters, and my parents, but it is incredibly frustrating to be treated this way, and know the impact it has had on my life, and that there is nothing I feel I can do to change it. Moving out won't change it, if anything I will get even less support.
I am not sure that what you are currently experiencing is support. It's destroying you.
Also my parents have told me I don't want to live in a boarding school so often I almost believe it.
If you get the chance you need to try it. It could be the making of you.
It seems like you've been brainwashed by your family and it's almost like you can't think for yourself because your head is so full of their influence and parenting.
I say this as someone who has spent my whole life with identity issues and feeling like im always at odds with myself.
It seems like you need to get to know yourself op, to free yourself from all this inner conflict, you are living in an internal prison and your patterns of thinking are keeping you there.
This time last year i researched bacp therapists in my area, enough was enough i couldn't live inside my head any longer - my parents influence over my thoughts, choices and behaviour has literally slipped away op. For the first time im making my own choices and i feel like at 39 im just beginning to get to know
myself - for me therapy has helped me to start living, it's like I've just woke up from a confusing, uncomfortable dream.
I think rage is a bit of an overreaction, frustration would be a better word. I am incredibly frustrated with the unfairness of the situation ...Moving out won't change it, if anything I will get even less support
Ahaaa! I think we are getting to the nub of the problem.
Because I did this myself (and it took a long time to work it out) - everyone else is to blame, everyone else has made your life this hard, everyone else has caused you to under achieve, their attitudes and their unfair treatment of you has caused the depression etc etc.
But the underlying rage and anger is actually really directed at yourself, but rather than face this and have to come to terms with the fact that it is you who is the failure, who is making excuses for your sad life and blaming everyone else, and probably having a bit of a melt down when you admit this to yourself, you are taking the easy option of giving others the responsibility, which lets you off.
I'm not saying that your childhood was good or your parents were supportive, but the situation you are in now is solely in your hands and the frustration you feel is really frustration with yourself and the lack of confidence and determination you have to just get out of the house and get a life. You are plain scared at venturing out into the world alone. Not surprising, it's a scary place, but you must face the fact that it is you who are the problem not anyone else.
Try a bit of quiet teenage rebellion against your parents telling you what you want and what you think, and go for the boarding school.
Not meant as flippantly as it sounds.
From what you say you've been ground down into barely knowing your own mind or thoughts and as zorba said, you want to be seen at last and loved .. and it's not going to happen.
Can't help thinking somehow that somewhere you're very angry. Not sure why I'm thinking that. Maybe because if you're feeling as trapped as you are, normally at some point people get damn angry at being so controlled.
Sadly there's only one person can change the situation.
Boarding school as a teacher sounds a brilliant idea. Some independence and still some structure around you.
You are right of course that some people would percieve you are depressed from your symptoms but your parents are clearly not that thoughtful or perceptive. Its okay to be annoyed/disappointed/frustrated by that. But instead of accepting that and just telling them that you are depressed and need their support, you seem to just be waiting for them to have a personality transplant.
Depression does that, it makes you feel like you have no options. But its not true, you can change the things you do and say (and even the way you think) to change your life for the better.
Your family dynamic has led to you organising your life around your parents and siblings, beyond normal considerate-ness. You feel like you have to do things the way they want you to. Perhaps because you want to be a 'good' (compliant) daughter. I think most people in this forum understand that parents (and partners) can be emotionally manipulative and controlling, they aren't saying that your parents can't be those things.
What they are saying is that although you feel trapped. Although you feel like you can't go against their opinions (about renting/benefits/living at work etc) you can. They might disapprove, but the world will not end if your parents disagree with something you have done. This is your life. You get to decide how to live it. You are an adult, you can assert yourself. Its difficult right now because you are still living with them, so you keep playing the 'child' role in your relationship and you are depressed so your confidence is low. But it is possible, honest.
Please go to your GP about your depression and ask to be referred for some kind of talking therapy as well as considering ADs again - you can explain about the side effects they gave you before and they ought to give you different ones.
I do understand that relationships with parents and siblings can be a source of stress. It is hard and upsetting. But you can get help, but you will have to seek it yourself, living at home and hiding in your bedroom, it won't get better on its own.
Erm, as PPs have said, your parents are not actually supporting you so you have nothing to lose. The only thing you get from them at the moment, and risk losing by moving out, is their approval.
Your view of life is very self centred/childish, expecting people to notice your depression because you stay in your room etc.
NQT year is hard work, I would probably assume that you were busy or being unsociable and preferring your own company
Your real problem is not your parents.
It is not your sister.
It is your expectations of these people and the disappointment that comes from those unmet expectations.
Take control, take responsibility and move out. You only have one life.
Because she gets it, but doesn't need it.
And I don't get it, despite the fact that I am mentally quite unwell at the moment and nobody has even noticed or cared.
But you say in your OP that you keep the extent of your illness to yourself, because you don't want to worry them. If you want them to know, why don't you just talk to them??? I think the way they treat your sister is something you have to separate and just deal with your own interactions with them. Personally, from what you have written before, I think you need to move out, I bet your health problems would improve no end.
Please get assessed for your own sake, and bugger what your parents' reaction would be. You don't have to tell them in any case.
Please seek a referral for psychotherapy, again, for your own sake, and again bugger what your parents might think about it (and why would you tell them?) You must have 2 hours of an evening or a weekend morning you could spare for this. You may not want to go for therapy, which is your choice, but again, for your own sake, don't tell yourself you haven't got time.
I understand that you are very daunted by all this, but these little self-deceptions are probably massively contributing to the frustration and anger you are feeling.
The thing is, there is no change without at least the possibility of negative consequences. In other words, to improve your situation you are going to have to take risks. The risk of deteriorating mentally, the risk your parents will react in a very adverse way, financial risks etc.
No one on this thread will be able to come up with a solution for you that has no risk attached (which I suspect is what you are hoping for). There is no ideal solution. Your biggest mistake, as I see it, is not understanding that staying where you are also has massive risks attached to it: the risk of deteriorating mentally (huge), the risk of a major fall-out with your sister or parents or both, losing your job due to your illness worsening etc. So please don't think that staying put is safe and moving out is risky. It's not that simple.
I have lurked for a couple of days on your thread, but have waited to get to a proper keyboard before posting. Firstly I am sorry that you are finding things tough at the moment and that you feel like you are stuck in a vicous circle in which your life circumstances feed your depression which exacerbates your circumstances, by appearing to limit your choices.
I feel though that you have had some excellent support and advice from some very wise ladies. AF's posts chime particularly loudly with me. I am not sure that I can add any additional advice, but I would stongly urge you to keep reading the advice you have been given an make a plan - your plan - to move forward.
I am also, in a kindly and supportive way, going to give you a gentle bollocking. The fact that I literally only come down at meal times, and almost no other time should be a good indicator This is not the behaviour of a mature adult. Nor is it sufficient to blame it on your depression. It is just bad behaviour, and if you were one of my children I would call you on it. Now I understand that depression is tough. Very tough. But it is not an excuse for behaving like a spoiled brat. You say that you are intelligent, so please try to develop some insight in to what is behaviour and is therefore within your control and what is depression and is not within your control to the same extent. Ok lecture over.
So you have posted here for help. Well done (genuinely) as this is an important step. Might I ask what you see yourself being able to consider next ? When others have suggested Couselling you have expressed practical barriers to this, but I don't think have rejected the idea per se. Is it something you would consider?
If you are willing to try, as well as bacup and your GP as a referral source you may find MIND useful if they have a service in your area. They often have services geared towards younger people and offer sessions at evenings and weekends, that might be suitable for you.
Along with others I agree that you should not rule out medication. Talking therapies are likely to provide a better long term solution, but medication can often help people like you in the short term, and may be especially useful in helping you to deal with additional stress - such as you are experiencing at work.
Others have suggested you may have a spectrum disorder yourself, and you appear to have looked into this. Your posts do not display a lot of empathy towards other people, or much insight. While this may be symptomatic of your depression, and your frustration, and may just be how you are coming across right now, it is also possible that it is a manifestation of a spectrum disorder. You suggest there is no point in seeking a formal diagnosis - but I would challenge this. A diagnosis if made might help you to find techniques to deal with your individual issues, which ultimately may help you in other spheres of your life such as work and friendships.
I also think you realise that your longer term future is outside of your family home, and I appreciate the difficulties this causes you. I also believe that you have more going for you than perhaps you realise. A Teaching qualification does allow you to work pretty much anywhere, and may well be a solution for you. (Also dont know if you would consider working in the state sector, but that would potentially allow you access to key-worker housing).
Right now, understandably because of your depression, you meet each suggestion that is made to you with a barrier or barriers. I hope you are able to access help to overcome this mindset and to focus upon solutions. Have you ever come across the cheesy statement that you shouldnt take problems to your manager only solutions? If you applied that thinking to your current situation, I wonder what your solutions would be? I will give you a starter for 10. The solution is nothing whatsover to do with your parents or siblings. Only you can change.
Good luck I hope you find the strength and courage to take the first small step. Do keep posting here for support.
Don't really have much advice but didn't want to read and run.
How do you and your sister get on with each other?
Is it worth trying to spend time and build a better relationship with each other? When your sister acts ill, you could advise people that minimal fuss is better, IFSWIM.
I understand about depression and living at home etc, in many ways your situation is similar to mine. HTH x
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