Taking care of others while neglecting yourself, and not properly grieving

Hello y’all,
I’ve been diagnosed with adhd ever since kindergarten so I’ve always known I’ve had it, I just never understand it past I have trouble focusing until now cause I’ve always been told that. Anyway moving on.
Some context: my mom got a boyfriend when I was about ten, and this person became the dad figure I never knew I wanted. He was my dad to me in every sense of the term. A few months later my mom became pregnant, and I was very excited and happy, thought he was gonna marry my mom, living with us full time, I wanted to be the ring bearer for there wedding! Happy ending right? Wrong. I come home from school and I felt a sense of dead, don’t know why, it just came from nowhere so I ignored it, I get home, my mamas there and the boyfriend is nowhere to be found, weird but I ultimately think nothing of it, the next day it’s a Saturday, everything seems normal, I wake up my mama want to tell me something so I go to her, she tells me that her boyfriend stole the car, multiple tvs, my own Xbox, cash, and a few other vlabules from the house, and when I hear that I’m just numb in shock, the next couple of days are a blur, first it’s shock then it becomes pure anger and hatred, how could he do this, my mama told me that were going to be sad about it for one day the that’s it.
So what’s a child to do, your
trust Brocken by someone you loved, your confidence shattered, and the sudden new responsibility of being
a older brother whole also haveing the pressure of being his only male figure in his life. Why, you ignore yourself and completely focus on your brothers needs and wants.
Talking about my feelings? Who has time for that when I should be making his bottles of milk. Remembering my personal hygiene’s. That c a wait I gotta change his diaper and give him a bath


Hello @juggernaut and welcome to the HowToADHD forums.

Thanks for sharing about this. This is a safe place to vent, if you need to do so. If you have questions to ask, ask away.

  • The people on this forum are open and accepting, and very diverse in age and experience with life, but the one thing we all have in common is ADHD (we are either “Brains” who are people with ADHD, “Hearts” who are people who care about someone who has ADHD, or are both).

It is important to be able to grieve. Grieving helps you to process your feelings about a loss. Even though you were not able to grieve at that time, it’s still not too late to do so. From my own experience with grief, I believe that there’s only one way to deal with it, and that is to go through it. (It may come back, and that’s okay. If you get stuck in grief, you ought to get help from a grief counselor.)

Taking care of yourself is also very important. Just like you ought to be able to ask your mom for the care you needed from her.

People get stuck when they think that they just have to be strong, to only bear up other people who depend on them. But you have needs, too, and it is okay to express those needs. Understand that you might not get your needs met when you need them.

One thing that divides people in relationships, whether it’s parent-child, siblings, or in a couple, is unexpressed needs & expectations. You can’t just assume that the people in your life know what your needs are. It’s okay to tell them.

I don’t know, from your post, if this is the life you are living now, or if you are now grief and this is the life you grew up in. It may be behind you, but it’s part of your life story.

Speak up, be heard. Also, understand that your mom probably needs to know what you understand her burden. She was also hurt, and had to bear the burden of being a single parent, and it sounds like the only person that she could turn to for help at the time was you. The man who was her boyfriend, who was your father figure for a time, who is your brother’s father, has run out on his best chance to do the right thing by all of you.

1 Like

I’m a father. I was a father from the day I got married, because I married a single mother. My stepdaughter was 7 when I married her mom, but I had wanted to be here dad as much as I wanted to be married to her mom.

Unlike your mom’s boyfriend, I chose to stay, even when my wife tried to get me to leave. (She was a broken person. She had been hurt and abandoned by other people, so she expected that from me, too. But I stuck to my commitment to her, and to her daughter.) I love her as much as I love her siblings, my biological children. I was able to teach her the best I know about how to build a relationship and how to raise a family.

  • Now, she’s well up in her 20s. She had a child with her first boyfriend, but they didn’t stay together (they brought out the worst in each other, but are co-parenting their daughter as well as they can). She had a child with her second boyfriend, but he ran out on them and doesn’t do anything to support his son. She is still with her third boyfriend after 7 years, who has two kids of his own (he went through a toxic marriage and difficult divorce), but he’s the only dad that my grandson has ever known. This man loves my grandson as much as he loves his own children, and it shows.
  • After 20 years of marriage, my wife divorced me and moved far away (she left me for someone else… I’ve had to do my own grieving recently, which is why I understand grief so well now). I have four kids total, my 28 year old stepdaughter, a 20 year old son, a 9 year old son, and a 7 year old daughter. - I have to leave my grown kids and my grandkids behind soon, because my two younger kids need me. I won’t let them down. I’ll be there for them and raise them into adulthood, like my first two kids. (I still love their mom, but I had to let her go. I’m not letting go of my kids.)

@juggernaut , you will have an extraordinary opportunity in your life. You can be that person that you needed for someone else to be for you. When your time comes to form a family, you can be that person who will show love and care and commitment, set the example for your own children.

There are two kinds of lessons we can learn from people…what to do, and what not to do. Your mom’s boyfriend’s example was a “what not to do” lesson. It seems that you’re figuring out “what to do” for yourself.

I can listen. I can share from my heart and my experience. I’m here for you, to help you on this forum any way I can.

Hey @juggernaut,

welcome to the forum. As @j_d_aengus said this is a good forum to share and exchange thoughts.
Would you like to share how old you are? I am wondering how long a time this is since you experienced all that and how old you little brother might be by now.

I think this is a very soothing thought. If you manage grieving and letting go (step by step) you might be able to shift your focus on fostering and reparenting yourself. It is not easy, I am struggling and also focus on helping others, but once we realized we can#t turn back time and we won’t change the people and the situation (your father figure walking out…) we can focus on what we missed out on and see if we can take care of giving that to ourselves. I guess from what you write, that you are connecting to yourself as a child (your inner child?) right now.

These are just some thoughts, I don’t know much about you. I sure feel, that you are searching for ways to not longer neglect yourself. It is not easy.


1 Like

I’m currently 18 years old and my brother is 6, and until I was 15 I kept it all inside, I wasn’t in the best place, I was mildly depressed and was just going through the days, it wasn’t until I made a comment about my self esteem that mama noticed something was wrong, when I told her about it is she was shocked and regretful that she didn’t let me grieve properly, she then signed me up for therapy, which slowly helped me get my self esteem back, cause my self esteem was low i didn’t see the value in keeping myself healthy,
The Covid happened, I was a small extrovert but I still talked to people occasionally, however Covid made me close up more and the isolation was incredibly hard and was the only reason I tried social media apps, I made a discord account and immediately meet two people who would be my best friends, a little while later I was an admin/big brother figure to an entire server since I was the oldest, and from those two factors I slowly got better, I was becoming more confident, my health was improving, I still had some issues an problems but there were slowly improving, however this senior year kinda set me back quite a bit, there was a school shooting and that was a bit too much for me, even my family noticed that I wasn’t acting like my normal self, for the first time in my life I genuinely didn’t want to go to school, my mother called me while I was on the bus and asked if I wanted to go to school or stay home, I didn’t know what I wanted so she told me that she was picking me up from school, after I got home we talked about it and she let me stay home for a few days to recover mentally, I was still going to a therapist so she scheduled me for more sessions, and I was slowly getting better, other than a panic attacks and a few instances where I had to get picked up I was doing ok, the one good thing about that situation was that it forced my shell open and I’ve been more open about my feelings in this year than my entire life, over the months my family and my teachers noticed how much I was improving and recovering, it was great, however ok March I had to get ear surgery, it was meant to be a small one but the damage was bigger then they realized so instead of 3 day recovery it became an month and a half recovery, this cause me to fall massively behind in school, when I finally got back from school I was overwhelmed, stressed and under pressure with graduation being not too far away, it got to the point where I couldn’t do any school work without my head hurting so much it temporarily incapacitates me, after a week of this I had a mental break down and asked my family for help, they gladly helped me create a schedule at home and at school and did everything they could, my mother was very proud of me for asking for help since I usually have trouble asking for help.
And now, I’m all caught up, it’s my final week of high school, and I’ve never been more relaxed, I’m still seeing a therapist, obviously I’m still a bit affected by the stuff that happened but I’m getting better,
There are a few good things that came out of this, for one I got a baby brother that I absolutely love and adore! I’m a lot more open and I’m talking to my mama about my feelings.
So thank you guys, for responding with such kind words and sharing your experiences, it really means a lot to know I’m not alone!