Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Growing up is hard!

Community Member
So my story is a long one...
I was born to a super strict and emotionally unavailable mother and mentally ill father. I didn’t have much of a childhood as a result.
My dad would be in and out of hospital throughout my life - he was physically abusive early on to both of us kids and to my mum, until they pretty much sedated him with medications. This calmed him down substantially.
But then my mum took on the dominant role. She started to despise my dad. She looked after him, but treated him as if they weren’t really equals. He had stopped working when he got really unwell, and as a result lost his self respect. He thought I didn’t respect him too, and maybe I didn’t when I was younger. But that had nothing to do with being unemployed. It was more because of his inability to interact with us as a father figure. And he just didn’t have an interest in doing anything.
Fast forward to today, he’s no longer with us. And I felt like I was doing okay. Until yesterday when a cousin reminded me about my dad and how we treated him when he was alive.
It was incredibly hard having a parent who was ill. I feel life is hard enough as it is, without having no real support when growing up. So I had no real role model, apart from my mum who would consistently degrade my dad. So i would do the same too. I hate that I did that, but I feel like it was unfair of my cousin to say what she did when she has no idea how it felt in our house. She saw it from the outside.
I feel guilty now. And I was really hurt. I don’t think she knows just how much she hurt me. But I do understand now that she is not mentally well herself. She is seeing a therapist to try and get over things in her past that she is still reeling over. So it was not a good time to chat with her. Especially when my mum is going to have surgery for breast cancer.
So I have issues! To be expected I think... and I’m finding it incredibly hard at the moment. With my mum’s cancer, and work, and I have three kids of my own. Oh, and I also have bipolar. What a life I was dealt! But I have no regrets. I love my life, and my kids and hubby are my whole world.
My cousin also mentioned my sister. She has schizoeffective disorder. Maybe I could tell you about her later, as I’m mindful of how much I’ve written already.
I appreciate your patience if you have read thus far. If anyone wants to say hi, please do! It does feel good to get all of that out into the open!
4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Dani

Welcome to the forum. I know it can be hard to wrote your first post and out down all you want to say with a character limit.

So I am pleased you made the effort.

This is a friendly nonjudgmental place with people who are supportive and caring.

I can understand how your childhood has affected you . You were upset by what cousin said to you but she was not seeing the whole picture. As you say your cousin also has her issues.

You were only a child when you saw how your mother treated your dad, and you just copied her.

My dad was well but my mum used to tease him and I used to join in. I was a teenager and now my parents passed away decades ago, I did feel so guilty how I treated him.

I think he knew you were kind and were just copying your mum.

I am glad you love your life and have a great husband and wonderful children. You are strong and have learnt how to be a parent and a partner despite not having any role models.

If you feel ok, I would be interested in how you manage to work out how to be a mother who was different to your own mother. What have you learnt, what helped you?

I also have bipolar .

This is your thread, feel free to write about what you want.

Thanks again, Dani, and welcome


Hi Quirky,

Thank you for your reply. Pleased to meet you!

Its very hard being a mum, with the bipolar and not having role models earlier on.
I’m not sure if there are any standout points I have to make in terms of how I be a different mum to mine. But I will try...

I guess I kept telling myself I would be nothing like her. It turns out I am like her in many ways, but I stop myself from doing what my mum did that tormented me the most. I try not to blame them, or get too angry if they make a mistake. Which are two things my own mum and her sisters did to me. I guess it’s a case of ‘see, but do the opposite’. My aunties were so cruel to me when I was young, and I try my best to protect my own children from their negativity when they are young.
As I said before, it’s incredibly difficult. Difficult to love when I didn’t feel the unconditional love I craved. It’s hard to be affectionate when I didn’t get that myself when I was growing up.
I found it incredibly difficult to maintain relationships. I would fall for any guy who showed an interest in me because I thought that no one would love me. So I just gave my heart and all to them. And of course was heartbroken often.
Until I met my wonderful husband who accepted me for me. Often I get confused as to why he is still with me, I don’t know what he sees in me to be honest! But I know that that is MY issue.

I often feel scared and guilty, that my children have a mum like me. They see me cry, which I try to minimise, but sometimes it’s hard to hide my feelings.

Would you like to tell me more about you?

Community Member
Hi Dani,

You are a brave, smart and strong lady to me.

The current matters and don't live it with full of past history. Appreciate and enjoy the life with your kids and husband, and be a good mom.


Please don't worry too much about bipolar condition. It is who you are! Just manage to live with it and let your loved ones take it with you.(•‿•)

We cannot go back to the past. What you experienced and learner help you become better yourself.

Be happy.


Thanks for your reply and ni ce to meet you.

I can relate about relationships. I had a good childhood but I was diagnosed at 16 with manic depression as it was back then and I was in denial for many many years.

If any man showed me any attention no matter how I was treated or abandoned, I craved to be wanted. I felt I was damaged as back then there was so much stigma.

I feel guilty that I had no trauma in my past but was loved but I have bipolar. I know that is irrational but it is how I felt for a long time.

I was ashamed . I eventually came out of denial and took medication which has made me stable. I still have days when I struggle. I know have my own shop, and volunteer and give talks about mental illness.

I am no longer ashamed. I am passionate about helping people. That is my life in a nutshell.

Please believe in yourself I can see by your writing you are a kind person who has been through a lot.

Your children are lucky to have you as a mum as you are so caring and would put their needs first.

Please look after yourself. I can understand how you feel guilty. I know you didn't have role models and never felt unconditional love. You are stopping that cycle. You have a loving husband and lovely children. You can do this.

Have you spoken to a counsellor or would consider talking to one.?