Too Young to Have no Life!

by Liz
(Melbourne)

Both my parents are in their early 70's , I am an only child married with no children and do not work due to post traumatic stress. I live about 5 minutes from their house and drive.


My parents have not had a perfect marriage with family issues on both sides and as a result they offloaded onto me from a young age and I became the go between for communication. This improved a little when I married late in life but now it has resurfaced and due to the above issues our family unit is very small, mother,father, my husband and me!

Over the last 4 years both parents have started to develop health issues- my father had a tumor removed from his chest and radiotherapy, which left him with weakness in his legs and so slowed him down, especially with mobility. My mother fell twice, broke her arm in 4 places, required surgery and has osteoperosis.

Since then she has also developed spinal problems, severe pain and often is unable to walk. Then last year my father went in for a routine operation and it developed into a life threatening 8 months of hospitalization, which lead to doctors believing he would not survive.

Of course my mother relied heavily on my support, advice,decision making, driving, general help and waiting at the hospital for @ 8 hours a day. Luckily, the doctors were wrong and today he is home but only able to drive 5km from home, as well as fragile.

Then while caring for them both and my husband, I discovered I needed a serious back operation, with a collapsed vertebrae and bone graft, with fa bone spur touching my spinal nerve. I had an operation in November last year and although my parents were nice, I do not think they realize how tired and stressed I am now!

As an only child my mother believes it is my duty to cater to all their needs, which if necessary I do, however with all the stress I now have teeth problems and just a few days ago I had a kidney stone attack, which means more problems.

I guess my problem is that for all my life I feel like I have tried to smooth out my parents problems and now I feel trapped by their needs and lack of recognition that it is all taking its toll on my health and marriage. My mother especially is good at guilt and manipulates it so I feel compelled to do as she wants, even if I am tired. I am beginning to feel trapped, unhappy, angry, frustrated and resentful towards my parents, which adds to my guilt and does not help with my relationship with my husband. Why can't I just say no or tell them the truth!!! Is this all my life has come to?

Added to my depressive post traumatic stress, I begin to think what is it all for? My only saving grace is my husband who is supportive to the extreme and understanding however, even he is fast losing patience with the demands and toll being placed on me.

What can I do? Am I trapped in this cycle? Is there help out there? How can I explain to my parents without completely alienating them?

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Someone Hears You
by: Anonymous

Your predicament sounds so terrible. Even though I haven't any answers for you, I just had to let you know that someone hears you. Seems no one is appreciating all you do, and no matter how much you do, they just need more. It's all too much for one person and you are carrying the load. It's taking you down.

I know that mother guilt. It just takes a silent mood, a tone in the voice, an attitude, a comment that brings in the guilt and the anger and the resentment.

Just know that you are doing everything you possibly can and come to some sort of realization that there is a limit to how much you can give of yourself. Your failing health is a sure sigh that you've already crossed that line. You're in a danger zone for your own quality of life. If you don't have any other family, perhaps some help from the outside. Don't let them take you completely down.

Sometimes needy people cling on like a drowning victim and they will crawl on top of you to survive pushing you under the water. Your parents aren't going to change. You will have to change what you are doing and how you are feeling. You will have to draw some boundaries where you don't give to the point of exhaustion and desperation. Sounds like your husband is a good ally.

Use your emotional, mental and physical health as your guide. If it's deteriorating, you're doing too much. And know that others are in your situation, and we care, because we know how you feel. You deserve better than this and only you can give it to yourself. I hope you can find some solutions. This is your life, too, and it's just as important.

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