39 next month: will I EVER be able to escape from my family?

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hi peeps, and hope someone takes an interest!

I have an epileptic and autistic sister (she's 30 but has a mental age of roughly 6), my dad has been severely impaired in eyesight and short-term memory by a brain haemorrhage he had in January 2012, and my mam (my sister's carer) is suffering from depression, severe anxiety, insomnia and occasional suicidal ideation. I am also the only driver in the house, and take my mam for groceries every Saturday as well as keeping her company (with TV and board games) every evening.

I have never lived away from my parents -- even though I went to university and have now been employed for almost 11 years -- and now yearn to move out (primarily because I'd like to try finding a girlfriend or wife, and suspect that my family situation would be a deal breaker for any woman if she became aware of it). However last time I attempted to move out my mam caught me in the act and threw a major tantrum, and I abandoned the move out of fear that if I went ahead my mam would commit suicide! I'm now despairing of ever being able to move out, fearing that I'll be expected to live with my parents until they die and then take over from my mam as my sister's carer.

Have I ended up becoming a carer for my mam without even realizing it, and does anyone here have any ideas for how I can get out of my situation? (I am considering taking advantage of my workplace counselling scheme, but I am also looking for more practical suggestions.)

You can find more information on my history in a document I prepared at http://gcarty.awardspace.info/why-depressed.html

Hope someone here can point me to some help,

hello George

I have just read your post and I wanted to say welcome to the forum.

there are many people on here that i feel sure will have all sorts of practical advise to help you with your situation. but i just wanted to say a big welcome, its a very friendly forum and i am sure you will benefit from joining. i certainly have.
Hi George,

You are not responsible for your parents. How they live their lives is their own responsibility, not yours.
You are not under age and you do not need anyone's permission to move out and have your own place, where-ever you choose to live. If Mum feigns illness or threatens self harm that is emotional blackmail which you should ignore.

It sounds like Mum seriously needs some counselling to deal with her anxiety and maybe a Social Services needs assessment may be a route to outside help for the family as a whole. Others here will be able to give you details how to access that help on their behalf.

As to the threats of suicide, I have personal experience of that from my own mother. She's been doing that for two years now and never once actually done anything. Ignore it.

Find your new place, pack your stuff and go and get on and live your life. I wish you all the best. You really deserve it.
Hello, George. I agree with Sara's excellent advice and suggestions. You need to set a controlled distance from this relationship.

Consider having groceries delivered, to ease the present strain and prepare for the time when you will be less on-hand. You are perfectly justified in wanting your own life and building your own family. Best wishes!
While my sister does go to a North East Autism Society unit two days a week (the council can't afford more days), my parents currently use these to go for shopping (so that they aren't totally dependent on me in that respect). I've also asked my mam why she doesn't go out alone more to get some much-needed social contact, but she replied that my sister gets too anxious about being left alone with my dad!

How might I go about finding a counsellor that would be willing to visit my mam at home?
Hi George

Just a quick answer for now as I'm on my way out. (1) Google "codependency" and "boundaries". (2) Take up the offer of work counselling. (3) Leave!

Seriously, your mum will try anything, no matter how underhand, to keep you because she's frightened. I had all the emotional blackmail from my mum, like "in my day we moved to be near our parents" and when that didn't work she moved to be near me. (Incidentally, she had a brain haemorrhage at 47 but is still going strong at 95!)

You have the means to get away - grab the chance with both hands. I wish you all the best.
Starfish, I suspect that my mam doesn't just regard attempts by me to set boundaries to be illegitimate, but that she regards the very concept of boundaries to be illegitimate too: she has often boasted that she never kept any secrets from her parents...

Hi George, you need an Escape Plan. "This time next year I will be FREE!"

My own son has severe learning difficulties, and now lives away from home. I have always believed that it is wrong for disabled children to live with their parents long into "adulthood". During his late teens and twenties, my son learned to do so many things that he would never have done at home living with me.

It is time for your parents to make long term plans for your sister, so that she can move away from home and make a life of her own. The council MUST meet her needs, they cannot use the "not enough money" excuse for someone with critical needs.

Your sister will be entitled to legal aid to fight the council if necessary.

First steps are to arrange for mum, dad, and sister to have an up to date Needs Assessment from Social Services, and for you to have a face to face Carers Assessment (refuse to fill in a form instead!) and make sure this is done away from home.

Now start a Wish List of your own.
You need a home of your own, even if it's just a studio flat to start with, somewhere that is truly your own. Start looking now. Then you will need a bed, bed linen, etc. so start thinking about what you would REALLY like, not just what will "do".
Think about the colours you like the most.

I'm not saying abandon your family, but they have all used you as a convenient slave for far too long. Just because they can't do something doesn't mean you have to do it instead! Social Services need to step in.
bowlingbun wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:22 am
My own son has severe learning difficulties, and now lives away from home. I have always believed that it is wrong for disabled children to live with their parents long into "adulthood". During his late teens and twenties, my son learned to do so many things that he would never have done at home living with me.
What part of "she has a mental age of 6" don't you understand?

In fact I'd suggest the main thing that is driving my mam is her terror that my sister will one day be forced into institutional care.

I'm disappointed at your response.
I understand only too well I'm afraid, my grandson overtook my son intellectually when he was just THREE years old.

Maybe you should find out more about the options for your sister's care locally before you talk about "institutions"!