We’ve been talking a lot recently about unequal circumstances. Some people, through no fault of their own, have a harder time achieving financial independence than others. This is why the “anyone can do it,” one-size-fits-all success narrative is harmful and exclusionary.
This question about an abusive parent is a good example of one such set of circumstances. This came to us from an anonymous Tumblr follower.
“Bitches I need advice, I have never had a job because I was guilted into caring for an emotionaly abusive sick mother right out of high school. I am twenty three and have no idea what to go into now that I am free. I’m mostly afraid of going to school because I don’t have any money, but I have no idea what jobs I can get without an education! I don’t want to work in fast food and retail until I’m thirty, please tell me you can advise this poor bitch :(“
A poor bitch indeed. Oh, my sweet child of winter.
You have opened the door to my heart, and also my memories. Because I, too, spent a precious chunk of my young adulthood doing the exact same thing—caring for a sick, abusive parent.
I ask myself why I did it all the time. The only real answer is that there is immense social pressure on children to care for their ill parents—particularly daughters. Friends and family members I hadn’t spoken with in years (or ever) tracked me down. They got my phone number from my mother, or found me on social media, and twisted my arm until it broke. I was too young and inexperienced to tell them to fuck off.
I share these details because I want you to know that you are not alone, and you will never be alone. Abusive and toxic people—especially an abusive parent—are very good at turning illness to their advantage. Their greedy hearts are fed by the sympathy and attention, and they will manipulate the situation to get what they want from you.
And the people who were absent? Who enabled them? Looked the other way? They’re tumbling out of the woodwork like termites to volunteer you for the job they don’t want to perform themselves. Read More