Reprinted from "Parenting" issue of Visions Journal, 2004, 2(2), p. 16
As the mother of two girls between the ages 21 and 19, I have found that parenting is very difficult.
I was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder when my children were just 10 and 12. This created havoc in the house. It started with my children doing a little of the work in the house to help out, but soon they became the parents, saying what to do, how to cope and what I should look like.
It got worse. After a year my 10-year old thought she was the mum, while my other daughter, turned to drugs and boys to cope. We all know this doesn’t help the matter, in fact for a while this made matters much worse.
So I turned to the clubhouse in Sechelt called Arrowhead Clubhouse. Here, they helped me deal with my children and also cope with my illness. The girls also started to go to the clubhouse to get education about my problem, but also they found a support group, as the rest of the house became surrogate parents for a while.
This was great for the first while, but as I withdrew from the house the girls lost their support as did I. Thank God for people who care at clubhouses: personally, I wouldn’t be here if not for peer support and friends who didn’t judge me, or the way I was with my children.
The girls grew older but my illness remained. There was some success in getting them to understand my illness, but the obstacles were difficult. I moved to a new place, where my children felt too old to attend. They also didn’t feel a need to participate, or a need for counselling for themselves.
This time I realized I was alone and there was no help in explaining to them or what was going on. To get my youngest child to realize she was the child and not the mother was difficult and still to this day she believes she has to make the supper, even though I wish there were times when she would let me do it. My older one has changed, as she is confident in herself and sees no reason for the drugs and the wrong type of attention she once received from boys.
Even though for some it would be a blessing to have a child do the cooking, to me it is a reminder of how sick I was, and that I must be getting better if the small things the kids do for me tick me off. I realize my mistake in allowing the girls to become the parents. Control is ours and we need to be careful how we let others take it from us.
About the author
Hazel lives in Nanaimo and attends the Phoenix Centre Clubhouse. She is the mother of two daughters (20 and 21 years of age), has had multiple personality disorder for ten years and has been getting help for multiple personality disorder for ten and has been getting help for the last six.