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How do I live with a mentally-ill parent?

137 Answers
Last Updated: 12/21/2020 at 3:01pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Monique Bivins, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have a real passion for helping my clients to overcome life's obstacles . My work with clients is nonjudgmental, supportive, and interactive.

Top Rated Answers
June 17th, 2017 8:16pm
It can be really overwhelming to live with a mentally-ill parent, especially if you literally physically live with them - be sure that while you put energy toward helping care for them and making sure they are getting the treatment and support they need, you give yourself the time and self-care you need! The biggest thing here is: don't be afraid to ask for help!!!
June 22nd, 2017 7:19pm
be patient, every time you feel depressed, angry or sad try to imagine your parent feeling, put yourself in her\his place and breath deeply. it wont be easy and every time you feel cornered do a ritual , do something and relate it to being calm like drinking coffee or taking a walk whatever it was. more importantly don't bury your feelings and always talk to someone supportive like a friend who understand you it will lighten the burden and give a push on the back, never give up and always smile, make hardships bend to you and don't bend to them.
July 4th, 2017 1:07pm
Try not to rely on the as much and look after yourself. Your parent might be suffering and you don't want to burden them with any more stress so by looking after yourself might help reduce that. Also maybe suggesting a therapy session to your parent or just bringing them to one would be the best option as they will get help that sometimes you can't provide.
July 14th, 2017 10:49am
You must seek information about his/her mental disorder and consult a professional if you'd like to have a more professional advice. It depends on the type of a mental disorder.
July 15th, 2017 7:15pm
It's not easy. You just do everything you can, but, also know that you can't take things to heart when you can't help them.
July 22nd, 2017 6:04am
The best thing to do in this case is talk to a therapist. They will be able to give you the right advice about what to do with your mentally-ill parent and be able to give you resources to help you and your parent. But, make sure to give them love and support no matter what. Knowing that they are loved is a huge help for a mentally-ill person/parent.
July 27th, 2017 1:12pm
This actually hits very close to home for me, as my mother is undiagnosed but very noticeably ill. It really depends on the illness though, if it involves the parent getting angry with you for no reason, try to distance yourself as much as possible. The worst thing you can do is let their mental illness affect you. Try to get them to go to the doctor. If it is bad enough get in contact with a local CPS agent.
August 4th, 2017 6:13pm
Living with a mentally-ill parent takes a great amount of strength and dedication. It may seem many times that the world of responsibility falls on your shoulders. It is especially important to take care of your own physical and mental health. You must remember that you need to be healthy yourself before you can provide the help and support your parents needs.
September 3rd, 2017 12:13pm
It is a challenge. The key is boundary I think. We are meant to show empathy to others. Our mentally-ill parents deserve more. However, too much would fuel their own self-centeredness.
September 10th, 2017 6:03pm
My father is mentally ill. It can be difficult to have to live with a parent that is not stable. I have come to realize that you cannot control the choices of others. If there is any verbal, sexual, emotional, or physical abusive be sure to tell someone about it.
October 9th, 2017 6:27am
I haven't had to live with a mentally ill parent, but I did grow up with both of my older sisters having mental illnesses. It's not easy to see them act the way they do. It's hard not to constantly be angry with them. It's okay to be angry sometimes or break doen sometimes, but you have to remember that the mental illness is not who they are. You have to remember they can't control it. If they are not already on medication, try to get another adult to suggest they see a doctor because it could help very much.
November 8th, 2017 12:23am
You support them, but don't forget to support yourself. Positive energy, thoughts, and actions can be very contagious.
November 9th, 2017 10:00am
That's a tough one. Remember to look after yourself because if you're not feeling great you won't be able to help them as much as you could. There should be lots of support available for you as well as online support such as - and remember you are not alone! You can message a listener at any time, we are always happy to talk to you!
November 12th, 2017 3:24pm
What I do is I stopped blaming myself for how she acted out and I support her as much as possible. Don’t ever blame yourself for how they act. Focus on your studies or career and just make sure your parent is getting help. It’s hard not having a mentally-sane parent because it feels as if they aren’t there sometimes but they didn’t choose to be that way so support them and love them like you’d do any other parent.
November 17th, 2017 12:18pm
Living with a mentally ill parent is so hard for anyone involved. Whatever reason there is mental health it should be approached with caution. if you say one wrong thing to someone is mentally ill they could take it so wrong. There is so much support out there for mental health. It's just about engaging with the right people.
December 6th, 2017 11:46pm
i am so sorry to hear this. You are able to seek help yourself go to youre doctors and tell them your worries and they may seek for you to have help. In the uk if this is where you are from you can have respite care so you get a break from all of this, you can also go out with carers if you are young and go to clubs and things to have a break from home like and you can also get carers to come in and help your parent. I hope that you are able to find some answers soon. Keep positive and know there are others like you. Youre not alone and maybe google to see if you can speak to others in your position you can all help eachother then. I hope you keep positive use all that will power you have lovely x
December 8th, 2017 5:41pm
That is always a tough question. It depends on how bad it is and what your other options are. The one constant is to always do your best to keep yourself safe until you can take care of yourself. Good luck!
January 5th, 2018 9:42pm
Being a caregiver is a difficult task. I believe that every caregiver needs to make sure they stay healthy themselves. That means that you have to give care to your parent both physically and emotionally, and give care to yourself in both of those areas as well. So you need to find someone who can share that burden with you and give you the time you need for yourself to keep your own cup full so that you can fill your parent's cup. That is not an easy task. The responsibility to care for your parent is your's but you have to make sure you keep yourself strong enough to do that.
January 7th, 2018 9:31am
I understand you have trouble living with a mentally-ill parent. Please always consider that your mom/dad is going through a rough time mentally. Sometimes this can get better but other times it is permanent. Please, remain patient and always consider their feelings and emotions first because they can't process emotions the way a person without a mental illness can. Always be peaceful and positive!
January 10th, 2018 3:01am
It has been difficult for me to grow up with five immediate siblings and an unstable parent. I have had to come to terms with many things, but the most important thing to remember is that your parents' issues are not your fault. It's terribly important to be understanding and gracious, and to show as much patience as you can, but it's also critical to understand what you need. You deserve as much emotional attention as you need, especially if your parent or legal guardian has trouble emotionally or mentally. You deserve to be and feel loved.
January 25th, 2018 4:17am
Living with a mentally-ill parent requires tons of patience. It's hard trying to understand them, and it takes a toll on you also. You have to remember that you have to take care of yourself too, not just your parent. Try to find some support groups for people with mentally-ill parents, they sure help a lot.
February 8th, 2018 3:04pm
This is so different for every case, its hard to answer it so broadly.. But, in most cases, living with a parent that is mentally ill is very tough, especially if they have not received help. Personally, I know with my mother, I just try to stay calm and have perspective - parents are people too :)
February 16th, 2018 6:30am
There should be no question to this, you should love and support them until you no longer can, or find someone who can do it better than you (that they and anyone else in your family approves of).
March 14th, 2018 3:43pm
This is a great question and very difficult to deal with in general. I had a mentally ill parent in my life for many years and it was extremely difficult. I was blessed to have to opportunity to leave and be in a safer environment. Not everyone gets that opportunity though so my best advice is to make sure you take care of yourself and have some sort of stable adult figure in your life whether it be a family member or teacher or a neighbor. Those constants in your life help you deal with the confusion at home. Also make sure you have a safe place hat brings you comfort and you can go to at any time.
March 29th, 2018 10:46am
I don't have experience with this but my friend has a schizophrenic mother. I guess you will need to be able to distinguish their mental illness from their real personality and characteristics, so it doesn't foster hate. You will have to be able to know when to say no, when they become too draining. Being helpful is good but so is maintaining your own sanity and wellbeing.
April 1st, 2018 4:41pm
Having a parent with mental illness is difficult since we look to them for answers. The good news is you are aware of the situation. Learn about your parents mental illness and try to understand them as much as possible so you can help avoid their triggers. This will help keep things peaceful for everyone and don't forget to take time for your own self care. Talk to professionals if need be and seek support! You are not alone!
April 5th, 2018 3:42pm
living with somebody with a mentally illness even if it is apparent is learning to do your best to be patient and help them understand certain things you cannot always win a battle with a parent especially when they are the ones who are supposed to be right about everything that they share with you why? Simple because they're the ones that brought you up into this world they are the ones who taught you just about everything and it is difficult to open up to your room parents but sometimes what hurts so much as a belief you try your best to teach your parents without trying to irritate or progressed and aggression
April 6th, 2018 11:28pm
Help them accordingly to what they lack/need. Act patient and listen to them all the time, especially with their ups and downs give them the space they need when they ask for it.
April 7th, 2018 3:17pm
I lived with one myself and I sympathize with the pain that I'm sure it's caused you. I can only say to take it one day at a time. If you fear for your life or you safety is at risk, please seek help with someone you trust. You don't deserve to be placed in an unsafe situation, so please care for yourself as well. From an emotional aspect, do your best to make it through each day. Talking to a professional can help, opening up to friends and family may help as well. I wish you the best of luck :)
May 2nd, 2018 11:53pm
You really need to be patient with them. Sometimes they want help and sometimes they don’t. Some even want help but are too afraid to admit it. Patience is key.