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Was I a young carer?

DistractionDistraction NoobScotlandPosts: 308 The Mix Regular
edited March 19 in Home, Law & Money
May trigger some people

So when I use to live with my mum, I seen her as an alcoholic, some think she was just a problem drinker, although she did go to AA at one point.

From the age of 7 to 12, it was just me, my mum and two sisters (I was the youngest), I'm not sure how but I got involved in young carers (it might have been through school), my mum stressed that she had stopped drinking to them (which was a lie) when I moved here, family members told me I wasn't a younger carer and it was just so she could claim money or get a free service or something.

In my view, I had a responsibility to keep her alive, she fought and physically abused my oldest sister and my middle sister was good at manipulating the situations to get her own way, I felt like I was the only one trying to keep the peace and make sure she was ok, I tried to comfort her, understand her and listen to her, I feel like I put everything I could into helping her to see what it was like to be happy (which now I understand you can't do, you can't help someone who isn't ready for help)

I'm just not sure if I was a young carer or not, I wasn't much good at washing clothes or making dinner and I don't remember doing it often, nor did I have to make sure she took medication or do the food shopping alone, I just felt like I had to make sure she got home at night and tried to get her out of bed once in awhile (it never worked so mostly just left her sleeping) I was more like damage control, if something went wrong I stepped in to calm the situation, which to be honest was scary sometimes because you didn't know how she was going to react. I always felt like I had to be there or she might end up ending it all.

So when I moved to Scotland you could imagine how hard it was to let go but turns out she didn't need me anyway.

I'm mostly just wondering do I have the right to call myself a young carer back then.

Comments

  • RileyRiley Posts: 814 Super Moderator
    Well it's kind of difficult to tell whether or not you were a young carer when you were younger @Distraction , a young carer's role tends to differ a lot from household to household so judging yourself by what other people had to do as a young carer isn't very useful. It definitely sounds like you had an awful lot of responsibility for a child, and were often put in very difficult positions by your mother.

    If you don't mind me asking why is it so important for you to know whether or not you were a young carer back then? Young carer or not I think anyone would agree that you shouldn't have been in a position like that as a child, especially with what you mentioned about having to keep the peace between your family members. Mostly I'm just glad to hear that you left that behind you and are taking care of yourself now. <3
  • DistractionDistraction Noob ScotlandPosts: 308 The Mix Regular
    @Riley

    To be honest, I'm not even sure why it's important, I just feel like everything was so scrambled up, maybe I just want to know that I did do some good where I could, that I did look after her because if I didn't, then what was the point in putting my feelings aside and trying so damn hard,

    I thought I was strong because I was the only one who could understand/save her by listening to her and sympathising and putting myself in her shoes and talking through her problems and that made it ok when I was left feeling the way I did, but I didn't save her because she had to do that for herself,

    so maybe I didn't need to go through all that or at the very least I shouldn't have had to feel like I did you know, like what was the point, I'm left with all this baggage for no reason at all.

    I'm kind of realising how parents and kids relationships are meant to work now and I feel sad that even after all that I still never got the mum she should have been.

    maybe I'd even have my crap together by now if I told someone the truth and not tried to hide it,

    But most of all, someone should have been there for me when I was scared, like I was for her

    It was exhausting and it left me feeling like I had nothing left, like it drained me before I even began my life

    I am looking forward to the future, I'm able to move on and I'm happy about that but I feel like I'm stuck in limbo a little, like it's never truly gone,

    I am a great believer in looking for the positive and attracting it and this is just a bump in the road but I think I hate her a little bit, I never blamed her and I tried to understand the situation and it was just the way it was but I think I do hate her just a little for doing that to her kids,

    my two sisters had the same opportunities as me, to move away and it killed me to leave them behind, I felt like I was betraying them and leaving my mum to die, I felt so selfish and still think it was a little,

    its strange I couldn't take the stress of it anymore so I moved away in a gamble and just hoped to high haven nothing to bad would happen without me there and it didn't which was good but also means they really didn't need me and made me think why was I so worried in the first place
    Past User
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 Literally just got here
    edited March 30
    Hey @Distraction , How are you feeling after sharing all of this?

    I was in a similar position when I was younger. My bio dad abused substances and I was left to do the job of what felt like keeping him alive. Like you, I didn't really cook or do much housework but I was there for him when no one else was. I'd check on him to make sure he was still doing OK and I supported him emotionally, as well as I could have done at my age. I really like what you said here: "I feel like I put everything I could into helping her to see what it was like to be happy (which now I understand you can't do, you can't help someone who isn't ready for help)". I hear that a lot and you are right, the person has to be ready to seek happiness for themselves. I suppose, when you're young you don't really think of it like that though. I spoke to my counsellor about what it was like for me living with dad and she said that I was a young carer. I'd think that you were the same.

    It sounds like you were recognised as a young carer, especially as you were involved in the young carers group. I think regardless of what your family members say, they can't take away the fact that you were there for mam and your sisters. You would have seen more of what happened in the house than your family members did and so if you want to keep that young carer title then I think that you should have every right to do that. You were there for mam when really it should have been mam there for you. You carried a lot and It's a shame that any child should feel like they have that responsibility of being the glue that holds the household together.
    I thought I was strong because I was the only one who could understand/save her by listening to her and sympathising and putting myself in her shoes and talking through her problems and that made it ok when I was left feeling the way I did, but I didn't save her because she had to do that for herself,

    You were strong. Just by being there, you probably helped mam through so much. Like you said you tried to comfort her, understand her and listen to her. That's one heck of a job. A job that is much harder than cooking a meal, putting someone's shoes on or helping them take their medication. Especially as you were a child, you opened yourself up to understanding an adult and to take on the weight of their issues, that's a lot. Being a young carer isn't about saving someone, it's not possible to save someone with an addiction, they have to do that for themselves. Being a young carer is being there for that person whilst they figure out things for themselves. It's not about saving them, that wasn't your job and no one could ever expect that from you. You did more than enough by just giving your mam that space to talk if she wanted it. I think it's important for you to recognise how strong you are and how big your responsibilities were.

    I'm sorry that no one was there for you, that's really so sad and you deserved more. I think some people just slip through the net, you know? It doesn't mean you weren't worthy of support, you definitely were. You shouldn't have had to carry all of that baggage.

    I can relate to a lot of what you say, I think a lot of young people who have parents that drink or do drugs can probably relate too. I was removed from the home and leaving dad felt like I was letting him down and leaving him to die. It's really a tough situation but I'm glad you put your own needs first. You can't save an addict, they have to save themselves. It sounds like you put her first for as long as you could, you had no other choice but to move on.
    I am a great believer in looking for the positive and attracting it and this is just a bump in the road but I think I hate her a little bit, I never blamed her and I tried to understand the situation and it was just the way it was but I think I do hate her just a little for doing that to her kids

    This is fair and I relate to this too. I'm not much of a hater but I do feel that little bit of hatred for my bio dad. I hope you don't feel bad for feeling this. It's probably built up anger for the situation you were put in, you know? She took away your chance of having a real mother figure and that's a big deal. You'd have every right to be upset and even hate her a little.

    I'm glad nothing bad has happened now you've moved away. How is life now, is it much better? Like I said above, you put your own feelings first for once and I think that was a positive step to make for you.

    I think that it's really good for you to share how you're feeling here, you don't have to keep it in.

    We're always here for you

  • sailingswallowssailingswallows Posts: 63 Boards Initiate
    @Distraction from
    I would say you were a young carer.
    I was a young carer until I was around 11/12. Because one of my parents had some physical disabilities and PTSD, although I did do a little bit with cooking and stuff most of it was just what I had to do different compared to my peers. Particularly around the mental health stuff.
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