Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

DB with mental health issues living at home - I think my mum is finding it hard to cope with

(11 Posts)
StellaNox Sat 21-Jan-17 16:07:51

I have a DB who is 27 and still lives at home with my mum. DB was diagnosed with having Aspergers as a teenager but my DM has never accepted the diagnosis. She is basically in denial and pretends there is nothing wrong with DB. DB doesn't work and usually stays at home all day. DB is socially inept, has no friends or girlfriend, and he spends most of the day playing computer games that my mum buys for him. He has said to me that it isn't worth trying to get a job because no one would consider giving him one. My DM pays all the bills including all of DB's clothes and food. DB doesn't financially contribute anything to my DM as he has no income. I don't know what DB's exact daily routine is as it has now been 4 years since I left home. The impression I get from speaking to my DM is that little has changed since I was still living at home. He is constantly shutting all the blinds and curtains and walks around the house several times a day making sure all the doors and windows are locked. He washes his hands after touching any door handles or opening any letters. He's excessively sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and smells. My DM has to be careful with the cleaning products she uses as if DB doesn't like the smell of them, it sets him off. DB is also very set in his ways and can't cope with the smallest change or any disruption to his routine- he gets agitated if any furniture gets moved around, or if food isn't in the exact same place in the fridge for example. I can see the strain etched on DM's face whenever I see her and I have no doubt that the pressure of looking after DB is the cause of it. She never gets a break. I think the last time she went on holiday was about 8 years ago. She desperately needs one but she says she can't go because she won't leave DB at home on his own in case anything happens.

No one else in the family knows about the situation except for me, DB and my DM. I think my DM enables DB by coddling him and not setting any rules or expectations on him. I understand this next part might sound a bit cold-hearted, but I'm worried about possibly being lumbered with DB when my mum dies. When that happens I will be DB's next of kin. He wouldn't be able to look after himself as he has no adult life skills. I will most likely have my own family and kids by that point and even if I don't, I wouldn't want to look after DB. I would assume that he would get evicted from the house as he wouldn't be able to keep up with mortgage repayments or household bills. He would have to go into a care home. I have no idea how that would work or how much it would cost as my mum won't discuss it with me. She gets upset if I mention it to her. I want to ask if anyone on MN has experience of similar situations where a dependent adult relative is still living at home. Did the situation ever get resolved? Is there any advice I should pass along to my mum?

Lovemusic33 Sat 21-Jan-17 16:29:26

Reading this makes me sad. I am a parent of 2 almost teens, one with aspergers and one with autism, there is a lot of help out there if your mum will accept his diagnosis, there are local groups set up to help young adults like him, to teach life skills and to help with social skills. It can be very hard for someone with Aspergers to find work but it's not impossible with the right help and guidance. Your mum and your db can also claim benifits to help with living costs, you mum maybe able to claim carers allowence, your brother can came DLA (or PIP). I think you need to sit down with your mum and voice your concerns, she's not helping him buy not admitting he has problems.

chipmonkey Sat 21-Jan-17 17:18:10

Not the same thing exactly but I have a sister with SNs. I suspect she may have undiagnosed autism. Until she was 14, Mum and Dad let her attend mainstream school but in her second year of secondary school it became clear that she wasn't coping and was moved to a school for children with disabilities. Some had an intellectual disability and some had a physical disability. It was the best thing that ever happened to my sister. She went from being one of the weakest in her class to one of the strongest and more importantly, resources were in place to see that she got further training after school and there was work placement after that training. She's 42 now and lives in supported accommodation with three other women who also have intellectual disabilities, key workers who call in to manage issues with accommodation and employment and works part-time. Had my parents kept insisting that she was "normal" but just a bit slower than average and left her floundering in secondary school, I have no doubt that she would be living at home, unemployed and unemployable and my Mum would be waiting on her hand and foot.

I think that if your brother had the correct supports in place, he could probably do a lot better. It can be hard to hear and accept a diagnosis of special needs but I think trying to get her to accept it is key to success here. Does your brother accept the diagnosis himself?

spaghetticarbonara Sat 21-Jan-17 17:30:52

Name changed for this but regular poster.

You're not alone - we have a very similar situation in my family. My niece is 20 and lives a life were similar to that of OP's brother. According to her parents she has anxiety issues, but this has never been explored by a GP and she has never had counselling of any type. She stopped going to school before her GCSEs and has no qualifications. She has no friends. No social life. No prospects, no life outside her bedroom. Her parents walk on eggshells around her as it has been reported she has threatened to harm herself - she has never actually done anything to indicate she'll follow this threat through, but the mere thought is enough for her parents to back off completely and leave her to it. (Another member of the family of a similar age with MH issues hanged themselves a few years back). Like the OP's parents, my relatives won't go on holiday or even out for the evening as they won't leave her. Her social skills are exceptionally poor and there is no way she would be able to hold down a job.

Problem is - there's nothing we can do. We don't live close by, and every time we try to talk to her parents they shut us down and change the subject. Niece says she doesn't want to see the GP, parents won't/can't make her, she;s an adult. They fund her phone, Xbox, broadband, picky eating habits. She's not claiming any sort of benefits so is totally off the radar. This situation has been going on for 5 years now - can't see it changing any time soon.

silkflowers Sat 21-Jan-17 22:29:46

Your DM needs to claim disability allowance for him and ideally (maybe you can help her) try to get him into an assisted living type place. You really need to push for that and say your DM isn't coping etc. Once your DB is in an assisted living set up, they should be able to help him find a job. And also, once he is on the government's radar (via disability allowance), it will make things a little easier for you when you are the next of kin.

I can't stress enough how awful it is for him to be sitting there in his room all day, every day doing the things you describe. I have a family member in the same situation and in their 30s they had a full mental breakdown from which they have never really recovered.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 22-Jan-17 00:46:10

Book recommendation:
The Burden of Sympathy
(How Families Cope with Mental Illness) by David A. Karp
I am only about halfway through it. It is about making emotional boundaries in the name of self preservation for full time care givers.
My dd (22) has severe mental illness.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 22-Jan-17 09:08:58


Re your comment:-

"I want to ask if anyone on MN has experience of similar situations where a dependent adult relative is still living at home. Did the situation ever get resolved? Is there any advice I should pass along to my mum?"

Yes to the first (and this manchild now in his 50s is still living at home with her. She pays for everything and he ferries her about. He developed MH issues in his teens. A personality disorder then became further apparant. He has no job (cannot keep a job), no qualifications, no friends and is Walter Mitty personified. Parents objected to him being sectioned because they could do so. Also they could not bear supposed "stigma", "scandal" or "shame" on their house).

No to the second question, actually its still very much ongoing. You can give your mother advice but she will likely not listen to it. It may well take a crisis for her to at all act and she may not do so then either.

Why did your mother never accept the AS diagnosis re her son?. Did she feel it was all her fault?. However, what she has tried and is doing now is not working out for either of them and both seem stuck in their own respective narrow view of the world.

She being upset is all part of being in denial as to what has happened and her roles in this situation. She has also allowed this to develop as it has, she has also had a hand in creating this to the stage it is at now. She is in her own denial (as is my MIL, FIL is now deceased) re her son and it will not change at all until she dies. Then the solids will really hit the air con.

This type of dysfunctional home life situation as well thrives on secrecy, I would start opening up to trusted other people like your own GP to begin with. I did this, it helped a bit. You may well find that there is nothing this person can do either because these people are adults. Both of them are getting something out of this relationship, they do not want change. That has been our experience.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 22-Jan-17 09:10:53


Do not give any more of yourself to your family of origin than you are prepared to give. Some people really do not want to be helped.

pocketsaviour Sun 22-Jan-17 09:13:54

It doesn't actually sound as if he's that low functioning. If your mum wasn't preventing him from accessing help and treatment, he'd probably be able to live pretty normally, with initial support.

Your mum will have her own reasons for keeping him reliant on her. As long as you've made it clear to her that you won't be providing him support once she is no longer able to, you've fulfilled your familial duties.

I would say give the current state of the benefits system, he's unlikely to get PIP or your mother be eligible for carer's allowance, based on what you've described.

Squeegle Sun 22-Jan-17 09:20:28

I have a friend with a similar situation going on- her DS is 18. She admits he has problems (aspergers and OCD), but he doesn't. How do people get someone to admit there is a problem, whether it's the carer or the person? It seems impossible to break through this denial.

LunaLoveg00d Sun 22-Jan-17 11:02:09

I think the denial in our case is only going to break when there is come sort of crisis point.

Something like a serious illness of my niece, or one of her parents, something which brings them into contact with the medical professionals who can then discuss what's going on. Given that niece is physically healthy and her parents are not even 50, this is unlikely. We do hope that niece wakes up one morning and wonders what the fuck she is doing with her life, but this doesn't seem likely either. She sees her siblings getting on with the normal life stuff like boyfriends, work, driving lessons, nights out, holidays and this doesn't change anything. Her eldest sibling has already moved out into his own flat, the other one will likely do the same soon and then it will just be her and her parents.

But until something happens they are all just going to carry on pretending everything is fine. And in 30 years time when niece is on her own she will be 50, no job history, no qualifications and never stepped out of her bedroom in 30 years. God knows what will happen to her then.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: