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I finally told my parents that I am so worn out and sick that I am considering getting an apartment. Background: I am the 'problem child' of the family and my siblings are the royalty. I do get some thanks for what I do, but the others get most of the praise for even the smallest actions that they do. The majority of the care has fell to me - while the others are out having a good time and enjoying activities, I am here often having to fix the dripping faucet, pick up fallen limbs, go to appointments, look after medicines, and get them through illnesses - and deal with negative behavior.

Since I also have some health problems, I am too tired even when I do get a little spare time to participate in anything. I just got one parent through a severe cold, and then siblings come in coughing and sneezing..... and they have no concern about either parent getting their sickness. This type of thoughtless behavior runs rampant in my family. I was told to use ' me sentences' to let them know that a behavior hurt me - but I just get blank looks, with no response at all. My father does seem to have some guilt, but my mother does not care. There are also no boundaries in my family, and I was often told that the family problems were my fault - until a psychiatrist told me that it was a bold faced lie.

So... now that I have mentioned that I want to go on a waiting list for a place, my father keeps coming to me, crying, and begging me not to leave them. Same father who did not want to hear any of my problems when I was a kid. ( Also reminded of how his sister said their dad would cry whenever he wanted one of the kids to turn over their paycheck to him) In his later years, he has
tried to apologize for the benevolent neglect and do somewhat better.

My problem is that I am now in such bad shape that I have had to depend on them for financial help. I think that this is one reason the others show little respect - they tie my self worth in with what type of job and your status in the community. I feel invisible sometimes.
I also know that everyone who knows my family will be blasting me to high heaven for 'abandoning my parents.' I have already heard the minister say that he likes my siblings, but not me. (Since I am the problem child this is not shocking that I would be 'so heartless.')

I would be able to tolerate it if they would just treat their children the same and demand that I get help more often, and actually treat me with a little respect. When I said that I am doing most of the work, they just agree that it's true, but offer no solution. "Well that's just the way your brother is.' Or they will turn it around so that THEY are at a disadvantage because I am the one doing the most.
Yeah, right.
In my town, the waiting list for apartments for elderly or disabled are long because there are so few places ...it could be a long wait.
Sorry for such a complicated rant.

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LivingSouth, excellent idea, the support group. Go, if only to keep getting away from your environment, often.
A long time friend shared this with me, about support groups:
Don't share too much, too soon, or with everyone. There really is no such thing as true confidentiality. Having things in common will help, and even if you cannot share your details, your issues may be covered by others. The groups can help you! Then, other groups you may visit only once and get an idea of what can be done.
Because of emotional attachment to family, it can be very overwhelming to consider leaving. If you decide to leave, be safe. Sometimes that may mean going on at your own pace.
It really gets to me when others are mistreated. I feel for you and others. Just do your best, and keep trying hard.
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Section 8 housing is not always in a drug infested neighborhood. I wish people would stop generalizing about these kinds of issues. Check out some Section 8 neighborhoods for yourself.
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I went online to see if there is a counselor who might be able to kind of advocate for me and help me to find a place. Looks like there are only about 40 apartments, so no wonder there's a waiting list.
I started to learn website design on a distance ed site, but, like I told Chris on the post today, I constantly get interrupted. I have all these little notes about websites I wanted
to enroll on to learn new skills... I even thought about going to the library to do the coursework, but the traveling would just be an added expense. Just summoning the energy to even take a course is is hard when the work I do here is just wearing me out. Plus this stuff I have affects my memory, so I have to work extra hard to remember the material or techniques. I just need TIME - without carrying everyone else problems.

My parents are so nutty that one minute they will be saying that I need to be living
where I can sell the skills I have - and then the next minute they are pitching a fit that I want to leave.

Now another relative is weighing in and saying how awful it would be that I might be living in a drug infested neighborhood, on section 8!
I have to do something, and I'm going to see if I find the right people to help me out. We have a new caregiver support group locally, so someone there may know about resources that I don't know about. I hope.
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I agree with Katie. Until YOU leave, nothing will change. Stand up for yourself. I know it IS scary, I lived in another state, and the situation I was in, well, we wont talk about that, (bad divorce, no family...)but it finally got to a point where I had to realize that nothing was going to change until I made it happen. It was a giant loop of negativity and depression....You do not need to be a victim anymore. You can do it. The hardest thing will be taking that first step OUT THE DOOR. Sending hugs...:) "The longest walk begins with a single step".
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I've just thought of a better way to approach getting a job. Instead of thinking in terms of the problems, issues and what you can't do, reverse it and think in terms of what you can do as the basic structure, then expand from there.

You can do graphics work, you can work at home (add more as you think of them) - what CAN you do with these? Again, how can you leverage these skills?
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LivingSouth, you absolutely don't need a masters degree to teach in adult ad. I taught craft and needlework classes, for which I certainly didn't need a degree. I doubt if there even are any applicable degrees for hands on experience for quilting, even if a status oriented person in the adult ed program felt a degree was necessary.

I believe there's some type of needlework curriculum and degree in the UK though.

As to your graphics experience, you have a bachelors and you have experience. LEVERAGE THAT. Create a portfolio of your work, COPYRIGHT all your designs and work or at least don't leave it with anyone you approach to teach in adult ed. I put the copyright notation on my syllabi after I discovered someone was pilfering the language I used to describe my classes.

I also collected brochures from various communities in my area, read the curriculum to see where I could fit in my classes as some communities have extensive programs and others have virtually none. Then I cold called communities to suggest adding a crafting element to their curriculum.

In adult ed, classes are generally once a week. You wouldn't have to be in class daily as you would with a regular teaching responsibility.

I also tutored academics subjects at a community college. The tutoring program was sponsored by the college; students applied, tutors were found from those who volunteered. I didn't have a Bachelors, so I was paid less than those who did, but there was a demand for tutors for students who really were lost in the academic environment.

The first step though is to develop confidence in yourself, in your ability to convey information effectively, and in the fact that so many obstacles may seem to exist...tackle them one by one.

There used to be an Operation Able in our area that helped older people adapt to what might have been for them the challenge of seguing into computer based environments. You might find a program like that, or perhaps even with Goodwill, teaching others in similar situations.

Even w/o a Masters, you might be able to get a teaching assistant position - again, the classes aren't daily but generally twice a week.

I really think the key though is building up your self confidence to believe that you can do this. And I wish you luck; that can be a mountainous hurdle, but take it one step at a time.
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Maybe you've answered this before....but are you being paid for your caregiving?
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Regardless of your healthand income, you have a right to your own life. You can decide how much you want to help your parents. I would advise moving to another city, though, or they will never leave you in peace. Dont't tell themyou are abandoning them, just setting the hours you can help - just like your siblings are doing. Take the first step and walk out. I wish you good luck.
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I looked into teaching, but two problems I have - no Masters degree, and the problem that Voc Rehab had with me - simply to be able to do it every day.
Goodwill is actually the one that sent me to the fast food job ( and my Voc Rehab counselor was not happy about it.) I will look into the temp jobs though, and try to find out if they have this program locally. Some days I can barely get out of bed, so just being dependable is a problem, and that's why working for myself seems sometimes to be the only option. I've done a good job in my past work - in fact, I maybe did too much of a good job sometimes.

I don't know if I could make it on my own or not, and that's why I wake up depressed almost every morning. Feel a bit like a rat in a cage! It's like everyone in my family thinks that since I am 'defective' that I am the perfect one to look after everyone else - while they're out having a good time.
If I complain, I just get blank stares... they seem to think that I don't need to have a life.
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Have you thought about teaching graphics in an adult ed environment or in a library? You wouldn't have to stand; classes are usually no longer than 2 hours. It's a good way to touch up your resume.
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What about working in a "call center"...incoming calls, it is a sit down job in a cubicle, BUT, you wouldn't be standing. Also, a lot of insurance companies have those...USAA, Progressive, etc,. Convergis is both inbound AND outbound calls.
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LivingSouth, you do have genuine disabilities, no doubt about that. I hope you understand that those of us encouraging you to work are not doubting how hard it is to find something suitable. Plenty of able-bodied people are unemployed or underemployed.

Working some would be good for your self-confidence and on that basis I wish you luck in finding something.

Are you making any money on your self-employment attempt (which your parents consider a hobby)? If that has potential perhaps putting more effort into it might be your best option. Tell your family that you are not available between x o'clock and y 30 each day, because that is your work time. Or call it hobby time if they can accept that better.

Sunnygirl1 brings up some important points. I assume you understand your rights/limitations regarding work and disabilities. There are several people on disability in my family; some can work and others can't. My brother NEEDS to work a certain number of hours a month, in order to qualify for a county program that offers important benefits to him, but he cannot work over a certain number or his disability amount will be reevaluated. It is a very tight window he must squeeze through, and we are all very proud of him for managing it.

If you get SSI and medical insurance (Medicare?) and subsidized housing, can you make it on your own financially? Maybe with additional benefits such as food stamps?

We just all want to see you living on your own so bad we are grasping at straws! But please understand we don't think you should be able to go out tomorrow and support yourself.
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I think we're all in agreement here for you; when the first apartment comes available, snap it up. You have done your part. Let the royalty step up to the plate. You are going to be OK.
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High school diploma. Ah, auto correct
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Here's an idea. My husband , who is an IT guy with a HSBC diploma and tech certifications was laid off when the recession happened in 2008. He was in his mid- 50s at the time and couldn't find a job. Someone referred him to GoodTemps, which is a Division of Goodwill. They hooked him up with a job that capitalized on this knowledge base and after two years, he was hired by a different temp agency at a higher rate.

Is he making the salary he was in 2008? No, but getting there. So, look into GoodTemps.
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Well they have a program called Ticket To Work which is supposed to let you keep a portion of benefits while you attempt to work - this is set up for people who work at a typical 9 to 5 type job. If you go over the monthly limit, you have the next month's benefit reduced. Yes, keeping track with freelance is a lot harder than with a regular job. I have had to submit every single receipt of work expenses to Medicaid to make sure I wasn't over the limit. With all the other stress I'm dealing with, it does often seem pointless ( though getting paid for work makes you feel more productive)
The work is not every month anyway, and the government doesn't seem to know what to do with people who work either at temp jobs or freelance.
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What I'm asking is if you must report your income to the government. Don't they periodically ask you what you are making? If you are able to work, won't they cut your money out? And then wouldn't your health coverage go to? I'd seriously consider before I lost my health coverage, since a new employer or free lance won't cover you and you will have to pay out of pocket. Even with the Affordable Care Act, the premiums aren't cheap.
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I've worked with abused kids, degree in graphics ( the increase in people using software to do their own stuff has really hurt that job market) and worked in stores ( but later that ended up being a problem - with having to be on my feet). I was told by my doc that working in any fast paced job with tight deadlines would not be to my advantage. I have actually lost a couple of freelance jobs because I had to tell them that I could only work for several hours at a time ( not until 3 in the morning, in other words!)
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I was wondering if your parents are on Medicaid or may need it anytime soon. It sounded like you were providing care for them in the home. I would just check on that since there may be a way to keep the house if they were to need long term care and an adult child has lived in the house for a number of years prior to them entering long term care. If not, then I would just consider what will work best for yourself.

I think I'm a little different than most of the posters who have responded. I would consult with an attorney on your disability money. If you start working, they may think that you are no longer disabled and stop your check. You said you get SSI, right? Then what happens if you go to work, find that you can't do it and then have to start disability proceedings again. Have you checked to see if you can have an income and keep getting the checks? I would make certain and get it in writing.

Also, do you get Medicare as a result of your disability? If you start work, will you lose it? I'd check both issues out.
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In what field is your degree? Have you contacted the placement offices at the college from which you graduated? Tried to network in associations of the field in which you have a degree?
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LS, it is tough to find a suitable job when you have limitations. I feel for ya. And it sounds like Vocational Rehab has done horribly at job matching for you. Perhaps you need to get your profile there updated. "Can stand no more than 1/2 hour at a time" (or whatever.) I'm glad to see that you are trying. Keep it up. Look for herself, as well as through Voc Rehab.

And, please, don't let your family situation prevent you from taking a suitable opportunity.
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I have been trying to work part time - I started my own business. I had no choice because I cannot physically work more than five hours. I am expected to give up my time because family views it as a little hobby. I turned down a job last month because I was not only worn out, but could not travel out of state because the other siblings were on vacation. (Yes, that's right.)
And as for the job standing all day - I ended up in the ER after working at a store on the sales floor. They thought I was having a heart attack. My BP drops when I have to stand all day. This is what I mean by Vocational Rehab being worthless - they knew about the condition and still sent me to a job where I was expected to stand all day. I know there are jobs where you can sit at least part of the time.
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If you haven't been working - you don't have current skills for the workplace. The MacDonald's job can be a good first step - don't dis it!
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Just to add, when i graduated from college in 1975, into a terrible economy, i worked the mail room in the library for a year. It led to better things.
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Livingsouth - I was with you until you dissed McDonalds for offering a job beneath your degree.....As others have said...."it's a job." You have a pretty good sized mountain to climb to get out of the ditch you're in. That journey begins with one step up.
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LS, a job, any job, where you get paid and have a supervisor and colleagues to josh around with, is better than being in the "house of horrors". Get your foot in the door...there are lots of managers at McDonalds who started cleaningvtables and assembling Egg McMuffins.
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LivingSouth, if you have to clean tables at McD's to be able to live on your own DO IT! It is honest work that really needs to be done. They aren't making a job up out of pity. That job is way beneath your skill levels, but it should not be beneath your dignity. It is a way to get back into the working world and demonstrate that you arrive on time, do the work you are assigned, and get along with others. You can move on from there.

In addition to giving you extra income and getting you back in the working world, a job -- any job -- will get you out of the house! Take it until your new apartment becomes available, and you move away. Then try for a better job from your new location.

Start taking care of yourself NOW -- don't wait until everything is perfect to start.
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The only money I get is SSI. I did find out that I am eligible for a couple of apartment complexes now based on my age - would be the youngest one there, I guess - but I have added my name to the list for some new apartments about fifteen miles away. They won't tell you how long their list is.

I have had no help at all from the local vocational rehab about finding a part time job. I have a BA degree, and they wanted to put me in a McDonald's cleaning the tables.

I have other family using the old 'dangle money as a carrot' type of thing to try and get me to agree that I will ALSO look after them... I swear I have crazy relatives. I said 'well, a gift with strings attached is no gift at all.' Clearly even my extended family does not care if I have a half way full life or not - it's always all about them.
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By the way, you are not "threatening" to leave. You are "planning" to leave. And you don't have to discuss it with them until it is time to give notice.
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1) Get on any list you can for housing. Yes, the lists are long, but sometimes people on them have made other arrangements by the time their name comes up, so you won't really be waiting until every one ahead of you is placed.

2) Change churches! Or drop church altogether -- whichever feels more genuine to you.

3) Are you eligible for Disability? I would make an appointment with Human Services and go in for a needs assessment. If you are eligible for ANY assistance, take it!

4) Accept that your family is going to go nuts over this. You are the problem child and also the doormat. How dare you stick up for yourself? That is their problem, and if they can't deal with it they should go into therapy. Expect their bad behavior, but don't let it stop you.

5) I know that you are not well and have little energy, but consider a part time job. It will do wonders for your self-esteem. Just do it. And tell your family your hours. If you work from 9 to 1, if your parents have an urgent need during those hours, they'll just have to call the royalty kids, or 911. And if you are tired when you get home from work, see that they have what they need and then go to your room to relax for an hour.

People can only take advantage of you with your permission. Stop giving permission.
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