More threads by moonriver



I have been reading a lot of posts on here lately and sometimes I like to answer them too, I am not sure that I am in a position to give advice on anything but its nice to try to help other people.

I guess I was wondering if anyone else has has ever been in this situation or knows anyone. I grew up with two severly disabled siblings, my older sister had a brain tumour hat left her severly mentally and physically challenged and my older brother is severly mentally ill, so much so that he barely knows who I am. Both have been this way my entire childhood and into my adult life. Needless to say, it was extremely challenging growing up in that situation.

Everyone always comments how hard it must have been for my parents, and not to sound like I am looking for sympathy, I never felt anyone understood what it was like for me. The guilt at being healthy, the shame I felt about being embarassed about my siblings and feeling like I had to make up for my parents grief. Perhaps this is in part why I feel like I have chronic shyness or social anxiety, my family was always ridiculed for my siblings behaviour, even though it was never their fault. We were always being judged, my siblings always doing something crazy or embarassing. It just because easier to avoid people and not give out any information about myself. I started to think everyone would think I was crazy too.

My parents, though I am sure not meaning to, made me feel like I am selfish for wanting to live my own life. The burden I felt and still feel to this day because my aging parents continue to care for my siblings because the medical system is extremely lacking in options for caring for my sister, is extremely high. At some point I learned to tune out the world because all the sickness and sadness and insanity of their mental illness was too much to cope with. I wonder if thats why even now I feel there are times when I can barely follow a conversation. I wonder if there will ever really be a life for me, maybe when my siblings pass away. You cant imagine how horrible I feel even saying that, but how I hope for freedom and an end to this horrible situation.

Not sure why I have gone off on such a tangent on this topic, its been hard to keep it in all these years. I guess this was as good of a place to unload it as any.
that sounds like a very difficult situation for you to have grown up in, and even today this cannot be easy for you. i do not know of anyone who's been in a similar situation but maybe someone else here does.

i can imagine it is terribly hard on your parents but at the same time this doesn't mean it isn't just as difficult for you. you are caught in the middle in the sense that you want to live your own life - which is only natural - but you also feel guilt for this because your parents want your help and you may feel like you should be helping them because they are aging.

have you ever tried to find others in a similar situation in some kind of support group? if there isn't one available, have you considered starting one? the other thing that might be helpful is to find information on the topic, how others cope with it, and maybe finding similar stories.

do you have any support in the form of friends or a partner?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I agree. No doubt it was very difficult for your parents but I think the impact on a sibling or siblings is often overlooked or minimized. That's not to blame the parents in a family like this because obviously they have their hands full, but it doesn't alter the fact that the "well" child is neglected to some degree.


Thanks for the kind words, I dont have a partner, I am not sure i really have any friends, aquaintances maybe, but not friends. I dont think I could start a support group. I dont even know if I could go to one. I find groups make me very uncomfortable. I suppose this web site is a support group, I read other peoples ideas and suggestions on different things. At thie point in my life, its much easier to talk to people this way
this website definitely is a support group. it's been my support group for a while now and it's been helpful.

i hope you're feeling a little better for the moment, knowing that there's a place where you can come and talk about things.
Hi Moonriver I can relate to some of what you said. I have 2 brothers and sister with mental illness. I can understand how hard it was for you and the ridicule you felt from people in general because of what your siblings did. I am sorry your needs were not looked after in all this but i hope the forum has been able to help you with their support. Take care Moonriver mary
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