July 17, 2019
Feeling a sense of responsibility towards the welfare of her siblings and paralyzed mother, a young woman faced a crisis of conscience in leaving them behind to go off to college.
The situation dated back to the young woman’s junior year in high school after she turned 17. Her mother had surgery, and during, surgeons accidentally cut a nerve that left her without any feeling in her legs.
Although doctors said she might regain sensation, her condition hasn’t changed since then. The situation left her mother devastated. She cried most of the time and refused to come out of her room. With their dad not in the picture, the young woman took over the care of her two siblings in elementary school.
“So because she wouldn't do anything, I had to take over and become the mom. I had to get the kids up, breakfast, get them to school, get them home, help with homework, lunches, bed routine, etc.,” the young woman wrote.
Her mother then pulled her out of school so she could look after the full time, while she finished high school online over two years. “Because of this, I was not allowed to attend prom, or walk at graduation. I missed out on so much,” she said.
When her mother eventually became more social, she found fault with everything her daughter did in looking after the family. Some nights she cried herself to sleep.
But then the time came for college. Even though a good GPA got her into many colleges, the young woman's mother said she had to attend the local college and structure her classes around her responsibilities at home.
However, she secretly accepted to her dream college, where she got a full scholarship but struggled with feelings of guilt as she wrote, “I guess I feel guilty because I don't think I can leave because it wouldn't be fair? I've wanted to get away and live my own life since I got pulled out of high school for online. Should I cancel my spot and stay at home?”
Netizens soon pointed out that raising her siblings is not the young woman's responsibility as one commented, “Her injury is no excuse for her to verbally abuse you and force you to become the breadwinner/caretaker in your teens. Run fast and far, and don’t let her guilt trip you no matter what.”
According to David M. Allen, M.D. from Psychology Today, the unnatural situation of a child having to take care of siblings due to parental neglect adversely affects their relationships with each other.
“The siblings are angry at the neglectful parents, but they protect their parents from those negative feelings by displacing them onto the older, mother-substitute sibling,” he wrote.
The younger siblings, and the one having to take care of them, often harbor feelings of resentment toward each other. It can lead to the younger ones pushing their caretaker away later in life. “The older sibling is not the one they wanted taking care of them in the first place,” the professor added.
Adults that grew up in such circumstances are prone to keep their feelings to themselves. They are unlikely to speak up when they feel unhappy, as the indirect message they received is that they don’t matter to their parents.
Therefore periods of “silent treatment,” or even a complete break in contact for years from someone when they are upset are commonplace.
In another story related to parenting, a young father got slammed for bad parenting but in another way.
Earlier in July 2019, the father shared on Reddit that he made his baby cry on purpose to avoid a $100 fine. He chose to go up a one-way to get home faster and got pulled over by a traffic officer.