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Middle Class Charades

  • 11-05-2013 10:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1 vlamster21

    Last year I failed an exam by 6% and was forced to take a year out of college
    and repeat it as an off-books candidate.

    I moved home from Dublin to a small rural town. I waitressed in a local hotel. I was let go after 3 months.
    In this time, my mother was diagnosed with early breast cancer, underwent 3 surgeries, and a course of radiation treatments.
    Her mental health deteriorated and her obsession with keeping our house ‘in order’ escalated, as did her extreme Catholic devotion and her participation in Pro-Life campaigns.
    She suffers from depression and I am sure she is undiagnosed with some other mental illness. Her behaviour and speech are irrational and obsessive. She says spiteful things constantly to hurt us and reprimands us for minor household offences.
    A few months ago she said ‘it’s no wonder I have cancer with a daughter like you.’

    She sent my father a letter asking for a marriage separation yesterday.
    She requested he permanently stay in the spare room until she sells the house.

    I am 21 years old and two years off completing my B.Sc. I want to finish. I have attempted my best work and sat my repeat exam just a fortnight ago. I think I passed but I cannot be sure until I receive my result in June.
    I want to return to college and graduate.

    Until I graduate and get a job based on the strength of my degree skills, I have no means to support myself or find accommodation, right now I am entitled to social welfare, but assuming I pass my exam and return to college I will not be entitled to any benefits whatsoever.

    My father says he want no part whatsoever in the selling of our family home. My brother who turns 30 this July, also lives here, and works full-time in a local primary school. He lives here to save money to pay off his loans for the degree he is pursuing- becoming a primary school teacher. He’s about halfway through his course.
    I have a sister, about to turn 31, who lives a few hours away, and works as a music and drama teacher. She was involved in a relationship for the past 3 years which just finished a few weeks ago and is still dealing with the aftermath of that.
    I have not yet spoken to her about the letter my mother sent.

    I believe my mother needs professional psychiatric/psychological help, but she is unwilling to accept this suggestion from any of us. I believe staging an intervention would backfire as she is extremely paranoid and would view this as an act of betrayal. She also believes all of this would go away if we were better Catholics.

    I am going to stay with my Grandmother who lives about 2 hours away for a few weeks, and my brother is going to live with his girlfriend in that time. We hope that this will give our parents and us respite.
    I cannot afford to live anywhere else until I make a wage beyond that of a waitress. I have a provisional driving licence but no driving experience as I cannot afford lessons.

    I mostly feel powerless and upset and confused. I worry about my mother’s state of mind, but also the extent to which we tiptoe around it. I worry about my father’s health, he was diagnosed with an incurable skin condition a few years ago, so his risk of developing skin cancer as well as his high blood pressure makes me think he is aging rapidly before his time.

    This is a hard time for my family.
    We hope my mother gets better and reconsiders the marriage separation.
    I hope that an agreement can be worked out whereby the house is not sold.
    At the very least, I hope none of the major decisions are made until my mother regains her mental health and feels more equipped to deal with such matters, and that these decisions are not made in haste.

    The tragedy as I perceive it, is not in the cancer, the depression, the separation or the loss of the house itself, it is this threatening of our unity.
    We must break apart and go our separate ways. I feel too young and inexperienced for it all.

    Each of us are strong, bright, unique people with so much to contribute to our society. We are good people in a bad situation.
    I admire my brother’s pragmatism and motivation, my sister’s compassion and creativity, my father’s determination and stoicism and even my mother’s dedication and passion.

    Unfortunately, my mother is burnt out and broken.
    Our counsel is futile, our presence only inflames her agitation.

    We appear to be like any other well read, well informed, well presented middle-class family in our area. We all got good grades, and performed well in extracurricular activities. We participate in community events and we are always polite.

    Appearances are not always what they seem. Our daily life is a struggle, and we are frustrated and hurt.

    I’m sharing my story here not to seek advice, but just to share this message:
    Please don’t judge those you meet.


  • Posts: 26,052 [Deleted User]

    While I'm impressed by your insight and eloquence, I would suggest you edit your post as there are quite a few details there that might identify your family and invade their privacy.

    Best of luck dealing with a terrible time.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,485 ✭✭✭✭ Ickle Magoo

    As this is an advice forum and you do not seek advice, I'm going to lock the thread.

    All the best OP.

This discussion has been closed.