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How do I leave home when I have disabled siblings?

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From a teen in Argentina:  I suffered from eating disorders since I was 13 and bullying since I was 7. I used to be a very calm person,
Now I get angry over small things or depressed, I don’t show it though. Usually I bottle up all my feelings inside.
My mother and I usually fight over stupid things as I’m usually nervous or depressed and I think she is too.

I Think the main reason she is depressed is because my younger brother and sister are mentally disabled and her work is very demanding, I also think it is because her life didn’t went as she wanted it to go, she managed to finish her course of studies even though she had me, but she had to sacrifice some things because of my brother and sister and me. She is constantly very worried about my brother and sister future, which I understand, but she doesn’t want to get any psychological help.

We rely on each other but sometimes we get annoyed over nothing and I’ve have learned to keep my mouth shut, but sometimes I lose control and vent (but refrain from saying hurtful things), she does too and she told me to that it would be better if I kill myself twice. Once I was telling her how I felt to get help and I understand that she was frustrated by all the stuff going on and she said that out of anger, and the other time that she said it we were bickering over something not important at all but she did it again knowing about how sometimes I feel that things are too much and I’m insecure around people.

There are times I get angry and let out my frustration by hurting myself or get irritated with my mother because I wish I wasn’t born and I would have wanted her to have a better life. I knit its illogical.

I love my mother and I want to have a better relationship with her I’m starting college soon and luckily it’s near my home so I won’t need to move, but I know that I need to be more independent and eventually get my own place. I would like to keep a close relationship with both of my parents once that happens.
I would be grateful for some advice!!

How do I leave home when I have disabled siblings?

Answered by on -


Having a disabled sibling is difficult for any kid. It makes absolute sense to me that sometimes you get overwhelmed and sometimes angry. The bickering with your mother is probably not about whatever you are bickering about at the time. More likely, it’s a reflection of you both feeling overloaded with responsibilities. As much as you and your mom love your siblings, caring for them does influence what everyone in the family can do. But your letter also shows the empathy and maturity that are also often an outcome of sharing in the care of disabled siblings.

You didn’t mention your father until the very end of your letter. I hope he is as involved with your brother and sister and as concerned about your mother as you are. Ideally, he and your mother are working as at team to do their best to meet everyone’s needs. He, not you, is your mother’s partner. He may need to pick up more of the care as you move into more independence.

I’m very concerned that your mother is resistant to getting help. When I did a brief search, I was pleased to find that there are a number of organizations in Argentina that address special needs. I hope your family is taking advantage of what is available. If practical help is limited (or the quality isn’t what you wish it was), the internet has a number of groups by and for parents of disabled kids to provide practical advice and emotional support. If she isn’t already involved, your mother would probably benefit from being in contact with other families that are facing the same challenges. Peer support is often easier for people to accept than professional help.

The challenge for you and your parents now is defining your role as you emerge into adulthood. How do you balance your loyalty and concern for your family with your need to become an independent adult.? How much are you truly needed as part of the team caring for your sibs? Can you create a life for yourself that balances your talents, interests, and goals with providing some care or oversight for care for your siblings?

Planning for your siblings’ future should start now. Your parents won’t be around forever. It isn’t wise to assume that of course you will be the default full time caregiver if something happens to them. You may not be in a position to do so.

I encourage you to do some homework and to look for information on the internet to help you and your parents look at the next stage of family life; the stage where you and your siblings launch into adult life. There are a number of articles here at PsychCentral to get you started:

I do encourage you to work with your parents to create a gradual way for you to have less responsibility at home and more opportunities to be with your peers and to pursue your studies. Maybe, as an example, you live at home your first year of university but then move into a roommate situation at school with frequent home visits, etc.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How do I leave home when I have disabled siblings?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). How do I leave home when I have disabled siblings?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 2 Mar 2020 (Originally: 4 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 2 Mar 2020
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