Hi, so I guess to start I just turned 16. I've been taking care of my dad who is paralyzed for about 6 years. My mom left us and all the responsibility went to me. I have two younger siblings and then two toddler nephews I take care of. I don't have any friends, I take an online school that I failed, and am currently failing. Every time I talk about getting a job and saving money to move out I choke up because I don't want to pass this down to my sister who is only 13. A typical day goes like this. I wake up at 5:30 am to go to my morning job, then I come home around 8 am and help my dad with his online business and make the family breakfast. After that I try and do school from 8 am to 12 pm but usually get interrupted to help my dad. After I fail school I usually start dinner around 4 pm and then go to bed around 9 pm. I'm constantly helping them and never myself. I have serious problems with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. I also have trouble sleeping. But I'm so gosh darn busy and I hate bothering anybody. He has a caregiver, but they don't really help and they are only here for a few hours. I'm so lost and I don't know what to do. I can't really go to my dad or anything because he'll get angry, and say to just live with my mom or compare how sucky he had it growing up (he didn't ) And then I feel bad. I don't know what to do. I want to leave and never look back, but I also don't want my little sister to know what it's like.

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Ana, I truly feel badly for you; I wish I had some suggestions but your post is so overwhelming I can't get past thinking how depressing and challenging your life must be.

Is your father by any chance a vet? What caused the paralysis? Stroke? Is he able to get Medicaid, or any other compensation which would allow you to hire more help?
Helpful Answer (8)

Ana, what a sweet and selfless young person you are. this is difficult for any age. You do carry a heavy load, but you seem like a very strong person. i am impressed by your daily schedule. This is not all there is to life. This is just a temporary situation. And believe me when I say, time will fly and before you know it, you will be an adult and no longer in the situation you are in. Are you failing in school because of lack of desire or? Or do you maybe need tutoring in certain areas?
If you have nephews, does their parent live there as well?

We are glad you came to this site and we hope you will keep checking back in and letting us know how you are. We all care here. The answers to your situation will come, you just hang in there and you are doing a great job.

May God bless you Ana
Helpful Answer (15)

I am very impressed by you too, Ana! You sound like an awesome young lady. I think you and the two younger siblings need authorities to step in and help you in this situation. Frankly, if I knew you personally and saw what was going on, I would call Child Protective Services. Something isn't right.

Is there any adult in your life you can ask to help you contact them? If not, I would Google it for your county and talk to someone about getting help. 

Thanks for being such a caring person! The world needs more people like you, and you need a chance to succeed at school and grow up without all these extremely heavy burdens on you.
Helpful Answer (9)

No, this is not all there is to life. I am also wondering if there is another adult in your life whom you could go to for support and better solutions. While you sound very mature and capable, a 16 year old shouldn't have all of this on her plate. I don't blame you for wanting to run away and never look back. I would feel the same way. Unfortunately, you can't do that right now as you are not a legal adult and you'd be found and brought right back.

Is there a teacher you could confide in? A doctor? A neighbor? The parent of a friend? I think you need assistance but it will be up to you to find it. You came to us and shared your situation with us, I hope you will take our suggestions. I'm glad you reached out. I hope you do so again.
Helpful Answer (21)

Snoopy made an interesting comment about calling Child Protective Services. That might be an avenue for help, but there could be a downside as well. I worked in the county Juvenile Court back in the mid 1960-s, and typically if underage children were living alone, the Court would take jurisdiction. Your situation is different in that you're underage, but there is a parent, but he's not able to care for you.

What I would NOT want to happen is that either you or your younger sister are placed in foster care and the state would take control of your father. I'm not writing this to scare you; I'm concerned b/c sometimes what seems to be an avenue of hope turns into a muddy rut that traps people in it.

Eyerishlass also raises a good question in whether or not there are adults in whom you could confide. You wrote that you take online classes; do you have any contact with a former school, which might have a social worker?

I keep thinking there's got to be some help at some level.

What about relatives? Even if they can't help physically, they might have some suggestions, knowing your family.

I asked earlier if your father is a Veteran? This is key, b/c the VA could offer a lot of assistance for children of a Vet.

How did he become paralyzed, and how does he accomplish his ADLs? Have you investigated getting some type of financial assistance for him, in addition to the help you already have now?

That might be the better option b/c he should be able to get some type of assistance. And what about Medicaid?

I would suggest contacting your County offices to see what resources might be available, but again there's the same risk as there might be with protective services.

I really wish I could think of some good suggestions.
Helpful Answer (11)

Good points, GardenArtist, but I think the OP is in danger of not being a high school graduate, let alone being in a position to pursue college or vocational training. If being in foster care could let her do that instead of years of being the unpaid drudge of what sounds like a sad, dysfunctional family situation (taking care of toddler nephews too?!), I think it would be worth the risk.
Helpful Answer (14)

Can you actually go live with your mother? Can you take your siblings with you?

If you have nephews, you have siblings who are adults. Can you and your younger siblings go live with your sibling?

It isn't right for children to be raised without a capable parent or caretaker. It's not illegal as far as I know, but it isn't right.
Helpful Answer (10)

So I'm not totally sure if this will reply to all of you, but the thing about calling CPS is I do love my dad, and I know he would be deeply hurt. I also don't want to get separated from my siblings.

My brother who is the father of my nephews isn't very much involved with them. So he isn't much help.

I don't really have any adults to turn to. I'm afraid of saying something and getting people in trouble - which I don't want.

I just want a way out - where everybody wins. I want to be able to live as I should without everything falling to my sister. Because I know how that is.

My dad is a vet, but our VA provides as little as possible for us. So I don't think they'd be much help.

Thank you so much for all of your responses, it truly me and a great deal.
Helpful Answer (8)

I was wondering if you were in the states and you have answered that. Thank you for giving us more information. As hard as your life is it seems your primary concern Is for your sister. I assume she is the only other girl?
Does your sister get to go to school? How is she doing with her class work? Does she help you with things like breakfast and dinner? Are your brothers doing well in school?
Who does the food shopping? The house cleaning? I suppose your dad’s caretakers might help with the housecleaning. You must feel just awful with the situation you describe.
Does your family have a church you attend? Would your father allow that? There might be other young people there you could visit with.
Your feeling of “is this all there is” isn’t an uncommon one. Uncommon for one so young I think but usually comes with an awareness that life is hard. It can be good as in satisfying but still if you are overburdened and feel no joy, life can feel like an endless trudge.
Do you laugh everyday
Try to lift up your spirit by smiling and stretching your limbs. Try to do some simple exercises to release the tension in your body. If you have any control over the food brought into the home try to decrease the sugar and add vegetables. Maybe some carrots or celery to snake on. Slowly so the troops won’t rebel. Even if it’s a bag of oranges or some bananas, Ana banana it will help. Better health starts one meal at a time. 
If your sister does well with her class work perhaps you could ask her for a bit of help. Your siblings may be a burden but they are also a blessing. Be sure to hug them. If your mom is a resource tell her how you are feeling. Perhaps she is only used as a threat. You are probably conflicted with how you feel about her. On one hand you might understand why she would want to leave. On the other hand you must be angry that she left you with all her work? 
I know it seems impossible but your siblings will grow up. Time steadily marches forward. Give yourself a hug and be good to Ana today. I’m sending you a big hug as well. Come back to visit with us. We care. 
Helpful Answer (8)

Ana, I am also an admirer. You are doing a fantastic job taking responsibilities beyond your years and caring for your family. No, this is not all there is to life. When you care for others and do not see yourself accomplishing personal goals or milestones, you often feel "caught" and "failing". The area where you are clearly succeeding is keeping the family going and protecting your siblings and nephews. Don't minimize that - it's something many adults with many more resources are not able to do.

I see two big problems contributing to those feelings of failure. One is your school work and the second is your social isolation from your own age group.

You are interrupted from school time to help with Dad's care? Are the interruptions really something that needs to be taken care of now or have you and your dad just gotten into a pattern where he asks for your help anytime he encounters a problem? When are the caregivers in the home? Any chance you could set aside school time when the caregivers are there so they could help your dad? Is your dad even aware of how many times he in interrupting you? Or are the interruptions coming from the nephews? When I worked from home with young nephews in the house I got an old fashioned time/hour glass timer that emptied in 30 minutes. The kids had to wait until the glass emptied to interrupt me for anything that wasn't an "emergency", like getting a snack or changing the DVD. It took a week or two to make the adjustment but then I would often have 45-90 minutes between interruptions.

You are far more responsible than the average 16 year old and will probably feel somewhat out of step with your peers who have not had significant responsibilities. Is there a local church with a good youth group? Or a local YWCA or girls club that offers homework help? Finding a youth group that meets for a least a couple of hours weekly would be a great help in reducing your isolation. My church sponsors quarterly field trips for the middle and high school youth groups - if you could find a church with a similar program it could give you and your sister a chance have some fun with other kids. A big sister mentoring program might bring another adult into your life to help you cope and problem solve.

Were you a good student before your recent school problems? Have you considered studying for a GED (General Education Development) instead of a traditional high school program? A GED is a high school equivalence certificate that is generally as accepted as a high school diploma. A GED would allow you to qualify for jobs requiring a high school diploma and enter most public college and technical schools.

Is your sister helping you with household tasks? Cooking breakfast? Cleaning up the kitchen? Washing clothes? I admire that you don't want to whole load you are carrying to fall on your sister, but at 13 she is more than old enough to help.

I have been lucky to know several people that had challenges similar to yours growing up. ALL of them have had good adult lives with homes and families of their own. They didn't all get college educations or have career jobs - but they were happy. You can be too.
Helpful Answer (10)

Hi Everyone,

I hope your day was a bit better than mine. You all have been so sweet - I can't thank you enough. I've never had a place to vent exactly what was going on. I'd always have to sugar coat it and then I wasn't satisfy with my "cry/vent" So thank you.

To answer some more of your questions.

I do live in the states. I have my whole life.

The caregiver comes from 6 am to Noon. So they are here for a while, and they do some cleaning (never to the satisfaction to my dad, so I usually have to go over what they do) But my dad still will interrupt me. Especially for his online business since he is unable to go out and get a job, and he doesn't trust the caregivers with money and stuff.

I have tried to ask my younger siblings for help. (My sister is 13 and my brother is 11) But I usually it just ends up in an argument, and me having to do it either way. So to avoid extra time that was wasted, getting into fights with them - it's easier if I just do it.

As for the finding a church with a youth group or something similar, we have tried. We've been looking since we moved to where I live now and there hasn't been much help. Plus, it's very hard for me to be around other people my age because I haven't been around my age group / grown up with other people. So I'm very much a stranger in the social aspect.

My mother isn't a very reliable resource, she has a job from 2 pm to 11pm, and she's a heavy drinker with a few boyfriends on the side. So I can't really confide in her as much as I want to.

My siblings are also home schooled, but I think they are doing a bit better than I. My nephews are five and two, the five year old goes to a public school and does well.

I tried talking to my dad about college and stuff last night and he really upset me. He's wanted me to go to Liberty University for years. One because it's a christian university, and two because it supposedly it has a great doctor program. The thing is, he doesn't get that I don't want to become a doctor - when I tell him this; he usually "jokes" around about having a big enough house to live in when I'm older and can pay for it. He wants to live with me and (if i do have a family) my family, in the future. I don't have the heart to tell him that I'd prefer him not. Anyways, back to the college thing. When I suggested going to a community college or not one at all, to save on money and be able to be closer to them - he totally flipped out and told me I had to go to college. It isn't his choice, it's mine. I've done a lot for him, I've given up everything for him. And he still wants to be controlling even after I'd be eighteen.

Sorry how long this had gotten, I didn't know I needed to ramble about last night until I just started typing. + Sorry if I missed any questions, there's a lot of messages to go through.

Thank you again,
Helpful Answer (8)

Ana - first, you are doing AMAZING, girl!

Second - I kind of know where you are coming from. I was my mom's caretaker/caregiver till just before I turned 16, but in my case, it was because she was an alcoholic and had major depression. I went to school outside the home, but I wound up skipping out a lot just because it was the only "mental space" time I ever got. In my case, I was able to go live with my father and stepmother, and I finished school because they cared enough to make me do it. But that doesn't sound like a good option for you.

I think the hardest thing about this kind of situation is you are put in the position of being an adult, of having the responsibilities of an adult.....but you have none of the power or authority of an adult. So you are doing the parenting of everyone (including yourself and including your dad, in a way), but he wants to have all the say in how it's done. And that is grossly unfair of him to put you in that position. I know at your age, I was very angry about that. Very, very, VERY angry. It's okay to be angry about it. In fact, it's your right. It's your right to feel anything you feel.

You've got a lot on your plate. I feel like talking to your dad about university or college is kind of moot, if he won't give you the time and space you need to do your high school work. I think it would be a good idea to put the notion of WHICH college or university on the back burner for now. Actually, to be honest, I feel like right now, talking about the future with your dad at all is moot, because you are kind of living in crisis mode RIGHT NOW. If you want to HAVE a future (and you can have any kind of future you want - once you are an adult, your dad does not have any say in that), then you need to finish high school. Period.

There are lots of ways to pay for university, once you are ready for that, so that your future doesn't have to be your dad's choices for you. For example, I have a friend who raised her daughters as a single parent on welfare. One of the daughters put herself through university. After high school, she worked and saved up enough to go through hairdressing school. Then she put herself through university with the money she made as a hairdresser, and by applying for every single grant and bursary she could find. She is 27 now, and is a psychiatric nurse with a really excellent job, very funky hair, lots of amazing hobbies and interests, and has found a great relationship as well.

This is maybe what I would do. I would tell my parent that there's no point even talking about my career or university plans if I can't finish high school. I would tell them that I can't get my school work done if I'm being interrupted, and I require X time of day (when the caregiver is there) to do my school work, uninterrupted. I would probably repeat this over and over again every time they said something to try to make me feel guilty or like I was in the wrong. I would probably outright tell them to stop manipulating me. (I HAVE actually told my parents - when I was younger than you - to stop manipulating me. Actually, the words I used were, "Stop guilt-tripping me." It stopped everyone in their tracks.) I might be so bold as to wonder aloud what might happen if child welfare got wind of the situation at home. (You know your situation better than I do, but this would have terrified my mother when I was your age, if I'd known then that child welfare existed.)

If my parent continued to try to interrupt me while I was doing my school work, I would probably say something like, "I will help you when I'm free, but right now, this is the time I've set aside to study so that I can finish high school." I would definitely be a broken record* about this as long as I had to be.

Is it going to make him feel hurt or angry? Probably. AND THAT'S OKAY. Let him be hurt and angry. YOU are hurt and angry. That's why you're depressed and anxious and have disordered eating. IT'S OKAY TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Your father is supposed to be the parent. You are supposed to be the child. Your entire job in life right now should be getting through high school. It should also be having some other kind of life outside of school, especially a social life, but maybe taking things one step at a time is the ticket here. Stand up for one thing and stick by it. Then when that battle is won, stand up for the next thing.

And don't feel guilty! You are 16. You should be focusing on your studies, and meeting your friends for french fries, and learning to drive, and going to dances. Yes, your father needs care, and it shouldn't be you! It IS you, but it shouldn't be. It DEFINITELY shouldn't be you 24/7. Your dad needs to start respecting one little corner of YOUR life, disability or not. Don't let him manipulate you into feeling sorry for him. That kind of behaviour comes from him feeling sorry for himself, and projecting it onto you.  Don't let him!  He has a business, so obviously he's a capable human being. And he HAS a caregiver for a few hours (and he should be the one giving proper direction to them, so that they actually ARE helpful).  So that should be your uninterrupted study time. I mean, is he paying you for your work?  (Don't let him get away with saying he's feeding and housing you in exchange for it - that's his basic legal and moral requirement as a parent.)  If he has an issue with his business, he can wait. Be a broken record* about it.

I sincerely doubt he is going to toss you out on the street or send you to your mother if you stand up for your right to complete your studies. He would be losing everything else you do for him. Do you think he wants to start all over, training your 13-year old, going-through-puberty sibling to do things as well as you do them? I doubt it!

I'm not saying any of this to be harsh. I'm trying to be encouraging, and I hope you'll take it as it's meant.

I really feel like if you can win one battle right now, you are going to start feeling better - that you'll start being in a better place in your head and your body. And I really feel like this is one you can win. Once you win the first one, the rest will come a little easier. you have all of these folks here to talk to about it along the way!

*Edit:  I just realized I might need to explain what "broken record" means, because you've grown up in a digital world.  Apologies if you already know this, but in the days of vinyl records, they would sometimes "skip" on the turntable if they had a scratch, meaning the needle would keep jumping to the same few seconds of music over and over again.  "Being a broken record" just means repeating something over and over again, no matter what the other person says.
Helpful Answer (14)

I just wanted to add that standing up to your dad doesn't mean you don't love your dad. Of course you love your dad. You wouldn't be knocking yourself out like this if you didn't.  In being his primary caregiver, you've already given him 100x more love than most teenagers would show their parent.

Standing up to your dad is standing up for yourself.  Standing up for yourself is loving yourself (or at least liking yourself, if you can't get to love yet). It means that you also place value on what you think, feel, want, and need.  So you should!  Who else will do it? 

It's not only okay to stand up to your parent, it's pretty much one of the requirements for growing into a healthy young adult and becoming your own person. Your dad stood up to his parents at some point, too - and if he didn't, I guarantee he's still regretting it.
Helpful Answer (8)

Ana, my heart truly hurts for you! As another poster said, you are supposed to be meeting up with friends and having fun. Does your dad really believe you can become a doctor one day without being able to finish HS? Also, one has to make damned high grades to even have a chance of becoming a doctor.

Your situation reminds me a lot of my father's childhood. His mom died when he was 11 yrs. old, leaving him and his sister to raise newborn twins and 3 other young siblings. To make matters worse, his father was a raging alcoholic and they were DIRT poor. His father made his older sister quit HS to stay home with the kids and care for them, so she never graduated and always resented it. My father joined the military on his 18th birthday and got the hell out of there, but he lived frugally and sent home as much money as he could to help feed his siblings.

You need to make your studies priority one. You need to find any free tutoring available and get help. You NEED to get that HS diploma. Don't even think about college or anything else beyond getting that diploma. Make it your number one goal. Lock yourself in a room, put a sign on the door, let everyone know that for at least 4 hours a day, you are unavailable.

I know you do not want to dump things on your sister, but there is a difference between dumping it on her and getting her to help. My sisters and I had to do a lot of work growing up, as I'm sure a lot of others here on this forum. Summers were spent tending a garden, picking vegetables, canning them, mowing a lawn, yard work, etc. Not much idle time. We didn't have computers.

Frankly, in my opinion, the toddler boys need to be in a foster home or adopted. I'm sorry but your brother is a lousy father, creating babies for you to raise. He will likely keep doing it.

I could go on and on. My heart hurts for you and I'm also angry that so many people have let you down and dumped all this responsibility on you. If everyone stepped up just a little, it would lighten your load tremendously.
Helpful Answer (6)

I'm having what you would call a bad day. I woke up this morning to my youngest nephew rubbing my chap stick all over his body, the homemade dog food (which is raw beef) all over the floor, chocolate from ice cream smeared across the counters and the dishes piled up.

I had had a really bad night, just with myself. It involved mostly crying and thinking about not-so-kind thoughts. I actually, shamefully wish that today wouldn't come. It's sad to think about it - but it is what it is. My first thought this morning was " I can't wait for this day to end" I just had a gut feeling, it was gonna be a bad day.

And I was right. So far I've been up for about three hours and a half and I've had five breakdowns to the point I had to hide away in the bathroom to collect myself.

My dad is in a lot of pain today, which isn't unusual. Usually once a month, a week before his pain medication refill he will run out and be miserable. It's that time again. It's always hell. He gets angry easier, he's less focused on us, he sleeps a lot and just overall it is never a happy time. Last month it was really bad and he said some pretty hurtful stuff so I'm having more anxiety over this week than usual.

When I finally managed to get up out of bed, my brother was awake and doing NOTHING. Like he could've done his regular chores or something.

I'm just sad today, I have a ton of school work to catch up on and I have no motivation. I'm hoping my dad will fall asleep soon - his pacing drives me insane.

I feel bad, because I blew up and got really loud with my nephew and sister. My nephew wanted to help make eggs and I told him not at this moment and he proceed to smash two uncooked eggs together causing another mess for me to clean up. I threw the eggs in the sink and yelled at him. I feel really bad, because while he wasn't listening and stuff i should be able to control my voice around him.

And then my sister, was just really getting on my nerves. She was saying stuff like "You don't do anything!" and "You just come in here(our room ; yes we share) and pout!" But I was having a full on breakdown and wanted to (TW) self harm. (I didn't, which I guess I'm proud of)

I just don't know what to do. I don't work at all this week so I'm gonna be stuck here. I just really need this week to be gone and over with. I just need a bit of peace.

Another totally unrelated note : My sister inlaw, (not the one with the nephews) invited me to start working where she does (Subway) and I really want to. But my dad doesn't really like her and I can't chose between two people so I keep putting them both off. And It's just causing more stress than it needs to.

Sorry this post ran a little long - I just have a lot of feelings and no where to put them. So thanks for reading.
Helpful Answer (5)

Ana, I'm so, so sorry for what you are going through. It sounds like you are doing a great job and your family doesn't realize how blessed they are to have you.

This may seem like a strange suggestion, but can you call the main AA/Al-Anon number there in your city? The reason I ask is that they always have volunteers on the line that you can talk to, most of them 24/7. You can call at any hour of the day or night and someone will be on the line for you to just talk to. Al-Anon is a great support group for families and loved ones of alcoholics and addicts, and many people in Al-Anon have been caregivers at one point or another as well, so they may have some resources to be able to get you some help or relief with the caregiving situation, and can be another source of emotional support for what you are going through. They also have meetings at various days and times for an hour or two at a time. You will find some great support there.

I know it's awfully hard. You are not alone, you need to know that. And I'm glad you didn't do anything to self-harm. Come back here and vent too, anytime. This site has been a big help to me too. I'm a 37 year old woman who finds caregiving stressful, I can't imagine being 16 and all that you are going through.

About your school, can you leave for a couple of hours (maybe go to a McDonald's or some place with WiFi?) and do some homework? Sounds like you just need a little time to get away from all the noise to be able to concentrate.

Hugs to you, and I'm thinking of and praying for you. You will get through this, one day at a time.
Helpful Answer (2)

Two things stood out to me - you tried to find a youth group. My church has a great youth group, all different economic classes, homeschooled/public/private schooled, etc. Maybe you could try again? I know it's hard, but it might be a place to be with people your own age and have a chance just to be a teenager.

And, I'm sorry but you're still a child. Yes, you're a teenager and yes, very mature and it seems very kind and giving.'s not your place to care for your nephews. Someone, maybe your dad, maybe your sister-in-law, maybe another relative or friend but SOMEONE needs to tell the parents to care for their own kids. Yeah, it might mean paying for daycare but parents all over the world pay for childcare or arrange for a parent to stay home or work opposite shifts so someone is with the kids. You said your brother isn't involved, BOO on him, but it's not your place to parent his kids!!! That needs to change.
Helpful Answer (6)

Oh Ana! (((((Big hugs))))) to you. I am just doing some stuff now and will write more later, but I wanted to send you my support and love. Remember that none of this is normal - you having to be the "mom" of the household at 16 is not normal!  And none of this is your fault. So please don't take it out on yourself, or your body!

I went through Al-Anon (as suggested above). One thing I learned in Al-Anon, that always got me through the hard days, is the idea "I can do anything for one day that I couldn't do for a lifetime." That's probably where the expression "one day at a time" came from. And I've even broken it down further - I can do anything for one hour that I couldn't do for one day. I can do anything for one minute that I couldn't do for one hour. It might seems strange, but for me, it helps me get past that feeling of overwhelm and hopelessness and focus on what I need to get through right now.

(((((More hugs)))))

I will check in again later this evening!
Helpful Answer (5)

Hi all,

It's currently 8:53 PM, my nephews are laying down, everything is more settle and peaceful at this moment. I know the house is still a wreck but I'm really trying to devour this moment of quietness.

I'm extremely tired so I don't think I'm gonna update anymore tonight, I'm probably just gonna do some homework and head to bed.

But thank you all,

Helpful Answer (6)

Dear Ana,

I have a couple of questions before giving you my suggestions.

You said your dad is paralyzed but in a previous post you said he was pacing, or at least that’s what I thought I read. Do you mind sharing exactly how disabled your dad is?

How old is your brother (the father of your nephews)? And do they have a mother to take care of them? If so, why doesn’t she?

Do you have any aunts or uncles that have what you’d consider a somewhat “normal life”, even if in a different State?

What type of online business does you dad have? Who else helps him with it?

Bare with me, all my questions have a point :)

And this is key, why can’t you go to regular school Ana? If your dad’s caregivers are there from 6am to noon, why can’t you and your sister go to regular school?

Here are my thoughts.

You most definitely should go to regular school, not homeschool. Tell your dad you want to because homeschooling isn’t working for you.

You need this because you absolutely need to socialize (it is ESSENTIAL), and because you need to be able to focus on school.

Listen to this Ana, pay attention please: School and decent grades are your only tool to build your life, a different life!
I’m not just saying this as anyone would say this to any young person. I’m saying this because in your case my dear girl, you really have nothing else but yourself and your good judgment to get you out of the life you’re living.

I think it is time to show your loved ones a little bit of tough love. I know you love your dad and everyone else, but you’re not coping well with the situation Ana, you know this, and you owe them to take care of yourself so you can help them.

This is what I’d do:

First, I’d seriously and firmly tell your dad you want to go to regular school. And start looking into registering yourself ASAP.

Second, in the meantime, I’d tell your dad you’re seriously struggling in school, so you need focused time to study, which means when studying, you cannot help him. And PLEASE follow through. You can help him afterwards.

If he gets mad, tell him you need to improve your grades, if you’re going to college!

While you’re studying the world may crumble outside your room...just don’t pay attention. That is called settings boundaries, and Ana, unfortunately nobody is looking out for you, so you HAVE to be your own protector and defender. You’re an strong girl! Life has made you strong, so accept this without bitterness. It is your reality and you WILL make the best out of this situation.
You are absolutely entitled to get angry, disappointed, sad, etc, etc...but not bitter, not defeated. You WILL overcome this. Believe me!

The more you’re able to set BOUNDARIES and follow through, the less anxious you will be, the less you will face eating disorders, the less depression will get settled in your life. BUT YOU NEED TO BECOME STRONGER AND LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO SET BOUNDARIES AND TEACH OTHERS TO RESPECT THEM! -I wish someone had told me this at your age-.

About your nephews, tell your brother he needs to find someone to take care of them., at least for half a day. And YES Ana, you can say and do this.

This is not you being mean, this is you being more of a grown up than anyone else in your house. Your brother doesn’t strike me as very responsible, and sometimes people get away with as much as others let might be “others” in this situation. If you really stop watching your nephews he will have to react.

Actually Ana, can you go to the public library to study? Or to read a magazine Not everything is obligations in life! ;-) If people in your house cannot respect your space and your time, then make them!! Go to the library in the mornings , library can be home.

You said you’re off work this week? There you Go! Go to the library. And catch a movie or two, seriously! :)

What do you do for work so early by the way? And your desire to work, is it because your dad is struggling financially, or because your nephews need something or because you need money for yourself? Because you’re saving for your emancipation?

I totally understand you don’t want to cause your dad any problems, and that you love him! I get you don’t want to call anyone. So, if you want to keep living with your family...and survive...then my friend it is time to really put into action the meaning of the world boundaries, otherwise if and when you get out of this situation you’ll have a lot of disadvantages, and you don’t deserve that.

I want to thank you too, because every day I’m counting the hours for my day to be over. To be able to come to my room and be in silence, by myself, and relax. And I feel nights are sooo short! Because I use them in part as MY day and also as my time to rest. But your post made me realize I’m being too weak! If I’m advising you to be strong, then I need to lead by example! And we both need to remember this is NOT all there is to life! But whatever comes after, depends on us, we get to design it. That’s great news but also a significant responsibility. Let’s live life as it is now, preparing ourselves to live the life we want to have afterwards. 

And remember this, this is a very powerful and ‘to the point’ prayer:

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can...and the WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!”

That’s what I wish for you, my 16 years old sweet and courageous friend, the wisdom to know the difference...

A message sent with much and honest love and care. May God bless you Ana!
Helpful Answer (7)

Hey Ana - just checking in again before I hit the hay. Hope you are doing better by the time you see this.

Something just stuck out for me in your earlier post. You said your dad's pain pills run out a week before they are re-filled. What kind of pills is he taking? Is he taking more than the prescribed dosage then, or are they underprescribing him? Do you think he needs more/stronger pain management, or do you think he is addicted? (It's possible to have both problems, especially if he's taking opioids - addiction often starts with a prescription.)

I ask because it brings your situation into the realm of having an addict for a parent, and that rings very familiar to me. My mom not only drank, she was addicted to valium for a time. And if you do think this is an addiction problem, then yes, I really recommend you get in touch with Al-Anon. There is even a group for teens called Ala-teen. You can find out more info online, or find out where a meeting is by calling the number for Alcoholics Anonymous, which is in the white pages of your phone book. Also, the nice thing about that number for AA is there is someone on the other end of the phone 24 hours a day, if you need to talk to someone.

About the Subway job - do you think you can manage another chunk of work time on top of the work load you have now? Are you keeping the money or are you expected to turn it over to the family? If you're keeping it, I guess you want the money for something - hopefully for your escape! But do you think it's realistic to take that on right now, when you are struggling so hard to cope with what's already on your plate? Or do you maybe just want it because it represents a time when you can be out of the house?

Anyway, I've been thinking about you lots - I hope somehow you will find your way to a happier life, and that you'll keep reaching out to us here, because we all want to help you! (((((Hugs)))))
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Dear ana, something you said really scared me. Im not a professional or anything im just someone who cares, but you mentioned something about "self harm"? Please nothing is so bad that you have to hurt yourself. Please if these thoughts come up again i want you to reach out to someone. Please. You have so much on your plate as it is. Hurting yourself is not yhe answer. I promise you that. Just saying your life is way too important and you are so worthy of a good life. My thoughts and prayers are with you today and as long as you need them. Thats a promise.
Helpful Answer (8)

I'm speechless. (more like typeless lol) You're all the perfect stranger, but you're the only people I feel as if I can truly be honest with. Today was a bit of a better day, so thank you for your kind words. I don't have too much to say at this moment, I'm kind of, empty. Like nothing is super worrisome and nothing is really great? If that makes sense.

But to address your questions and suggestions:
1) About the AA/Al-Anon thing, I'm not really sure. I mean I think that my dad may be addicted but I'm not sure and I wouldn't want to cause any trouble, also they don't give him enough to begin with.
2) My dad is paralyzed from the waist down (about T7) so he has a power wheelchair, where he can control it himself. So that's how he paces, by moving alot.
3) I'm a few months clean from self harm, and I try really hard to not even think about it. But thank you, I'll do my best to turn to someone.
4) I really want to save up money to get the heck out of here tbh. I only have a few years left until it's legal for me to do so, I currently don't have anything saved because all the money I get from my morning job (which is just basically nannying my neighbors kids) I have to buy my bus tickets, ect. It's not like I waste it on just anything. It's stuff I really need. I figured 5,000 would be just enough to move out, plus I'll have a job when I move out.

Again, thank you all.

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Hello Anna, in life I've learned, the right thing to do... is usually the hardest thing to do.. I know you love your nephews and you feel like you are doing the right thing by taking care of them. But you are not, the right thing to do in that situation is getting them to a home where they are raised by "Adults".
They should not be in a home where a child is expected to raise four children, care for a
paralyzed parent who is an addict and take care of all of the household duties!

Unfortunately Anna, if your brother and the children's mother nor your dad, love your nephews enough, you have to be the one to Step Up, call somebody and get help for them.

Sweetheart, I hope you know what an incredible person you are. You deserve all the good that life has to offer. Please know that and don't sell yourself short by harming yourself or making bad choices in life. Just because others in your life we're not able to show you your true value, does not mean you are not a valuable gem. You are!!!
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Ana, im so relieved to hear that your not harming yourself. It takes a big person to admit that you had a problem. If you ever need to talk we are here for you. There are so many smart people on this site and im so glad you found it. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Be good to yourself.
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Ana, there is a lot of wisdom in the advice given to you, by people who truly care about your well being. Time will go so quickly for you, even though at times it seems like it's crawling.
Truly it will fly. So prepare yourself now.
The best way to do that is by your education. You are so intelligent and you can be successful at anything you choose to do. But, you must understand that you will not be able to change your life, with at least graduating high school. So make that your utmost priority.
You are a strong young lady, and we all want you to come back one day and tell us how you made it, through.

May God bless you Ana, and I will keep you in my prayers. We all care here.
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God bless you, Ana! I'm so glad to read your updates. Sounds like you are able to think about your situation with incredible clarity, and are poised to make some smart choices. Not only do you sound like a fantastic teenager, but I can tell you will be a wonderful young woman.
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Ana, you are an amazing young woman with a bright future ahead. Though you’ve been consumed with being a caregiver while you should have been cared for at such a tender age, this chapter will pass, and you will experience much more to come in this life. My dad died of bone marrow cancer when I was 15. I have 4 little sisters (the youngest was 1), and we all took care of him for two years while our mom worked to keep food on the table. I was 14 when I became bulimic. Everything was out of control, but I could control my weight. Even after my dad died, the lack of emotional support continued, and it took me over a decade, including hospitalization and outpatient therapy to begin recovery. I think the most important thing you can do is address the eating disorder (which means you have to address your feelings and the situation), and use the morning time to pick up your grades and make sure you graduate. You will not be able to move forward effectively if you cannot manage your emotions (and there are tools to help), or qualify for college or a career of your choice without graduating high school. That is your ticket to freedom, in so many different ways.
The Subway job may sound attractive because it gets you out of the house, but I think it’s just going to make it harder to focus on grades and graduate. Your health and grades should be your only focus in every free moment you have. Save your future, you will not get a second chance.
You seem very resourceful, but hesitant to ask for help because you care about how others feel. But how would your dad feel if you fail high school? Can you have a heart to heart with him that certain hours of the day are off limits so you can accomplish your diploma? What do you want to be when you grow up? Everything you do should be in an effort to move you closer to the life you want to live. The torture of re-feeding after years of self destructive behavior (that also lead to alcohol, drugs and abusive relationships) was only possible by surrounding myself with people I could be honest with, who supported me emotionally. Find someone you can trust to begin the process. Believe me, the sooner you can get the inside under control - the external chaos will be much more manageable. Takes a lot of hard work, a lot of tears - write it all out in a private journal and stay in tune with what your triggers are, so you can take control of your life. I pray you find peace within. When it seems impossible, remind yourself, yes - I’m-possible!
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Beautiful Caringfordoc!
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Ana, I'm so glad to see your updates in here! I know exactly what you mean about nothing super worrisome, and nothing super great, I have those days with my mom too.

It's sometimes nice to just to have a few moments of calm where you can breathe without the noise and the chaos.

I understand being reluctant or worried to talk to anyone.  I know you care deeply about your family.  The great thing about Al-Anon and other 12 step groups is you can remain anonymous.  Most people go by their first name only, unless you choose the give someone your full name.  Same for when you call the 800 number, in fact you don't even have to give your name, the person on the line is just a listening ear for you to talk to that provides support and the volunteers also may have personal experience with caregiving, and just related to your situation.  I know you had mentioned your mom was a heavy drinker, and I know that can be hard and heartbreaking to deal with as well as the overall situation at home.  You need healthy outlets for your feelings as well, and I'm glad you found this page too.

I'm cheering you on, and want to encourage you in your school too.  Girl, you can do this! :)  If you can get a couple hours a day like Caringfordoc mentioned and focus on your work, you can get there little by little.  A saying someone told me once when I was feeling overwhelmed that I've never forgotten is "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."

You are doing great, and just want to send big hugs to you.  Keep coming back and letting us know how you're doing!
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