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Oldest Daughter Who’d Been Caring For Her Four Siblings Decides To Put Herself First And Move Out, Mom Snaps
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Parenting, Relationships10 months ago

Oldest Daughter Who’d Been Caring For Her Four Siblings Decides To Put Herself First And Move Out, Mom Snaps Interview

Being a mother is difficult. In fact, it’s the equivalent of having 2.5 full-time jobs, recent studies show. Hearing this, we don’t even want to imagine what it’s like doing it all on your own.

Luckily, u/Few_Blood1369‘s mother had a daughter who helped her out with four little munchkins. Cleaning, cooking, doing groceries — this 20-year-old did the lion’s share of mom duties. And so, when she announced plans to move out, like people in their early 20s usually do, her mother wasn’t particularly happy.

Accused of only thinking about herself, this Redditor turned to the trusted ‘Am I The A-Hole‘ subreddit to see what others would do in her place.

Having someone by your side to help raise healthy, little humans when you’re a single parent is always appreciated

Image credits: Kampus Production (not the actual photo)

Yet, when the person who does the most heavy lifting decides it’s time to move on, things can get complicated

Image credits: Few_Blood1369

The author clarified a few important things for context

And explained what it would mean to her to leave the little ones behind

The sad truth is, almost a quarter of US children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults, a higher share than anywhere else in the world, according to recent studies. And although the stress and exhaustion level of being the sole breadwinner for five mouths is enough to make most parents gasp out of sympathetic horror, placing your child between a rock and a hard place, deliberately or unintentionally, is not something a loving, caring parent should do.

Nor should a parent ever use their kids, however capable and grown-up they seem, to fill the gap of a missing parent. Imi Lo, psychotherapist and author of the blog Living with Emotional Intensity, calls it ‘parentification.’ Besides “extreme anxiety and other nervous-compulsive disorders,” including severe depression, Lo notes that parentified children, forced to shoulder responsibilities of their lone parents, are more likely to have parenting problems of their own.

The messy part of trying to win back your independence, then, is navigating the emotional minefield some parents might use to keep their children in place. Diane Barth, psychotherapist and the author of ‘I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women’s Lives,’ believes the best way to rip off the band-aid without damaging the relationship with your parent is trying to be compassionate. “What’s important for the kid to remember is that the parent provokes guilt or gets manipulative because they’re feeling desperate and abandoned,” Barth told Bored Panda.

Barth understands how difficult it must be to remain firm in the face of your agitated, disappointed parent, but reminds us that eventually they always come around. “I’ve had a number of people go through this and let me tell you this: handled the right way, even though the parent acts like a terrible thing just happened, they will come around.” They might try to turn your decision to move out and spend savings on an expensive apartment (when you can, instead, live rent-free and save money) upside down, Barth has noticed, but the key is being firm. “They might not understand the reasoning at the moment, but they do eventually.”

This is what people had to say about this complicated situation

Dr. Lynn Margolies, a Boston-based Ph.D. psychologist and the author of the ‘Therapy Insider’ blog on PsychologyToday.com, thinks the need to use guilt-tripping as a way to cope with the growing independence of their children often comes from “insecure attachments” that the parents pass down from their own childhood. “When you can’t regulate your own feelings, you try to feel better by attempting to control what other people do, like forbidding emotional separation and autonomy,” Margolies explained to Bored Panda.

Similar to Barth, she recommends approaching the conversation “in a planned way” — one that is firm but kind, able to get through the thickest emotional armor. “An example of the wording of a good boundary setting-argument, one that can’t be argued with, is: ‘I know you want me to stay. I love you and I’m not abandoning you. But I am going to make my own decision about this,'” she advised, noting that surrendering to emotional manipulation and not doing what you think is right for you can often do more damage to the long-term relationship.

Another important thing both Barth and Dr. Margolies touched upon is the importance of not getting involved with the mind-games of name-calling. It’s easy to get lost in the midst of an argument and respond to belittlement or an ugly insult in the same way. We all have been there and know how easy it is to fly off the handle. However, Barth says that taking the high ground in a hostile confrontation is the first step of moving in the right direction.

“Getting sucked into having those name-calling fights is part of the parent’s dynamic,” Barth pointed out. “So, the more a child can say, ‘I’m not going have this conversation while you’re calling me names’ — the easier it will be to navigate out of mother’s emotional manipulation.”

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What do you think ?
Jo Choto
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I feel so sorry for this young woman. It's easy to tell her to go and live her life, but she's effectively the mother of these four young kids, and it sounds like she is the only stable person they have. Her leaving could be devastating for them, not only emotionally, but in the fact that their actual mother doesn't appear to take care of them. If she leaves and things go bad for the kids, she will blame herself. If she calls child protective services the kids may be taken into foster care and separated. There's no way to give this story a happy ending. The first person who needs her tubes tied is the mother.

Klaatu Verrata (Cough)
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Still, not her responsibility. She never asked for that role, and her selfish bïtch of a mother should be excoriated for putting her in it. I WAS that girl, as well, growing up. My 5 siblings ended up growing up to think demanding everything from and using me was normal bc my mother did it. So, after my endless toil to care for them and ensure they were safe and healthy, they STILL ended up angry at me when I finally stopped providing them with money and care years after they were MARRIED. This is a whole disaster and this girl needs to get TF away from the woman who spat her out bc she will be their servants forever if she can't throw down the hard boundaries.

Load More Replies...
Lovin' Life
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is a no win situation. The mother should be forced to be sterilized. This poor young lady needs to be able to live her life as she wishes but I am afraid that she is going to carry so much guilt that mentally and emotionally she will never be okay, especially if something happens to one of her siblings. This is so sad.

KAren Jacob
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't agree with the forced part but I think that the last part is probably right

Load More Replies...
Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Move out and away as fast as possible. Then call Child Protective Services.

Rosemary Probert
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't think the OP can do that. She loves her siblings and can't just dump them. She'd spend most of her time worrying about them so it wouldn't be much of a new life. She needs to move away, but to be able to keep in touch with her siblings. In the UK the social services would make sure this contact can be maintained, but I don't know about the situation in the US. Child protection services need to be called in. As someone else has said, the responsibility will just be passed onto the next oldest when the OP moves out. That won't solve the problem which is the mother of all these kids. The experts will know how best to handle the situation. Get them involved.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Jo Choto
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I feel so sorry for this young woman. It's easy to tell her to go and live her life, but she's effectively the mother of these four young kids, and it sounds like she is the only stable person they have. Her leaving could be devastating for them, not only emotionally, but in the fact that their actual mother doesn't appear to take care of them. If she leaves and things go bad for the kids, she will blame herself. If she calls child protective services the kids may be taken into foster care and separated. There's no way to give this story a happy ending. The first person who needs her tubes tied is the mother.

Klaatu Verrata (Cough)
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Still, not her responsibility. She never asked for that role, and her selfish bïtch of a mother should be excoriated for putting her in it. I WAS that girl, as well, growing up. My 5 siblings ended up growing up to think demanding everything from and using me was normal bc my mother did it. So, after my endless toil to care for them and ensure they were safe and healthy, they STILL ended up angry at me when I finally stopped providing them with money and care years after they were MARRIED. This is a whole disaster and this girl needs to get TF away from the woman who spat her out bc she will be their servants forever if she can't throw down the hard boundaries.

Load More Replies...
Lovin' Life
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is a no win situation. The mother should be forced to be sterilized. This poor young lady needs to be able to live her life as she wishes but I am afraid that she is going to carry so much guilt that mentally and emotionally she will never be okay, especially if something happens to one of her siblings. This is so sad.

KAren Jacob
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't agree with the forced part but I think that the last part is probably right

Load More Replies...
Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Move out and away as fast as possible. Then call Child Protective Services.

Rosemary Probert
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't think the OP can do that. She loves her siblings and can't just dump them. She'd spend most of her time worrying about them so it wouldn't be much of a new life. She needs to move away, but to be able to keep in touch with her siblings. In the UK the social services would make sure this contact can be maintained, but I don't know about the situation in the US. Child protection services need to be called in. As someone else has said, the responsibility will just be passed onto the next oldest when the OP moves out. That won't solve the problem which is the mother of all these kids. The experts will know how best to handle the situation. Get them involved.

Load More Replies...
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