- 4 years ago
I know this may sound strange, but I’m the youngest member of my family and I frequently feel like the oldest, as though everyone relies on me. I will try to explain this as best as I can without rambling.
A little backstory:
I just turned 25, and I have been happily married for almost a year. I have an older brother (30) who is married, and an older sister (28) who is single and lives with my parents.
This all started in July. I was enrolled full time in university, with a major in sociology and psychology. My sister has always been odd, and my parents never knew what to do with her. She has no friends, no drive, and is extremely socially awkward. At a family vacation a few weeks after getting married, I began to notice that the “odd” things my sister did, were resembling symptoms of Aspergers. I talked it over with my husband, and I ended up meeting my sister for dinner, and discussing this with her. She was extremely receptive to it, and agreed to meet with a psychiatrist. A few months later, she was diagnosed with Autism, and expressed relief that there was a name for how different she felt. She has struggled with anxiety and depression for years, and was suicidal several years back, which was when she moved back in with my parents.
My mom is a bit of a hypochondriac. As in to the point that when my sister was diagnosed with autism, my mom tried to tell everyone that maybe SHE had autism too, because she had one (YES, ONE) of the symptoms of it. So earlier this week, I went to my parents to visit my mom who had the day off. She started telling me how she thinks she has depression (it runs in our family, so this is actually possible) and how she has no energy to clean up her house, etc.
Growing up, my family was messy, and kept EVERYTHING. I grew accustomed to it, and moved out years ago.
But as my mom was talking, I began to walk through the house and notice how bad it has gotten. The “messiness” I remember, is full on hoarding. Their garage is 6 feet high with CRAP. Honestly, anything you can think of, is everywhere and anywhere. She showed me her bedroom, and there is a small path through all the things they have accumulated, and it depressed me even being in the room. They are each messy, but they also don’t get rid of things and they seem to give up because everyone else in the house is messy. My mom told me she hasn’t been able to reach the majority of her bedroom, in over four years. FOUR YEARS.
I told her I was going to start coming over for a few hours a week, to start throwing things away and donating things. Because if they can’t even reach these things, they don’t need them. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is wasting my time because if nothing changes mentally, they will continue to accumulate crap and this will keep happening.
WHAT DO I DO? I am considering asking them to go to counseling, but I know my mom is embarrassed, and my dad doesn’t think it is a problem. I mentioned my sister living with them, because she is a huge slob. But she freaks out anytime they mention her moving out, and blames her anxiety for why she can’t make the plunge. I feel as though I am the only person in my family who can ask them to change, because everyone respects me so much. They all view me as successful and smart, even though I am the youngest. My husband and I have made good decisions, and have reaped the benefits of saving and going to college, etc. and my family all respect that about us. But I want to help them get to that point too, and I don’t know how. Has anyone gone through this?
I feel like the parent in my family, when it comes to my siblings and parents. Thanks for listening to my ranting and raving! Advice is appreciated!