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Difficulty supporting family members

Community Member

I come from a family with a lot of complex trauma and mental ill health. I also suffer from the impact of trauma. I’ve been supporting my family members, and more specifically, one of my siblings for a year or so. They’ve recently been diagnosed with several mental illnesses and have difficulty with attachment. I’ve been working with them to gain more independence so that they can rely more on them self when I’m not around. It’s worked to a point, but I feel like we’re constantly going backwards in progress lately and I’m honestly really struggling mentally. I don’t have my own space anymore and I’m often having to prioritise their mental health over my income and education. It’s not their fault and I would never blame them for it, but I’m so tired and there’s no rest in sight.

I try to have conversations about behaviours and it ends badly no matter how I try to word it. If I get upset after my sibling accidentally hurts me, they get angry. I’m constantly being physically touched without my consent (hugging and play fighting) and when things go wrong, I have to deal with the consequences. Daily conversation is like walking on eggshells and when other family say the wrong thing I have to support my sibling alone through an attempt or self harm. My other family members actively avoid interacting with them if it means they have to be alone with them or when they’re having a bad time and I’m often told ‘you don’t want to help me because you can’t deal with me’ by my sibling. It feels like every time I have to go in for work they work them self up to a point of having a bad episode of mental health and often talk about attempts or self harm when I return.

if there’s any general advice or places to get support as a caregiver of family members with mental ill health that would be great.

2 Replies 2

Hi Ashii,

Thank you so much for joining us in the forum community, it is good to have you - I hope you will get to 'meet' many of our members here and get a great deal from the interaction. 

We are quite alarmed to hear what you are handling at the moment Ashii - and we can totally get the frustration and confusion we can see in this. Would we be correct in thinking that this has been happening for quite a while? 

We would like to start getting some assistance in place for you urgently, Ashii. Firstly, know that you can reach out to us here - if you are concerned about being overheard, or getting distracted, please consider clicking here to start a webchat with one of our counsellors, or if you have some space, call 1300 22 4636 so we can run through your needs and look at some options with you.

Another organisation we think could be worth talking to is Carers Australia - you can also call there on 1800 422 737. That specialise in giving back up to people who have been left with the responsibility of supporting others. More importantly, they might have the ability to get you a break!

We would like to recommend reaching out to your GP, and maybe any teachers / lecturers / instructors that you feel you can trust.

Please do reach out soon, Ashii - we are truly waiting to see how we can help.


Sophie M.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Ashii, I'm sorry you have had to cope with this by yourself, but the worry is that you are being touched, either way it happens, without your consent and when you need to go to work, then they have a bad episode of mental health or may suggest other ways they want to do to stop this.

Although I can't tell you what to do, but to me this indicates that you need another person/s to slowly take control of this situation, rather than just yourself, because it's affecting what you are able to do.

Your sibling has to accept this first of all, but Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 by phone, web chat or online are trained counsellors, but they usually dress in casual clothes, which takes away the image of a professional sitting behind a desk in formal clothes and this site is open 24/7.

This may seem to be a difficult alternative for you, but need you to have some freedom and not be locked in, although I realise your heart is trying to help them.

HeadSpace is another place to contact 1800 650 890.

you might need to be with them when or if you contact these places, just to make them feel at ease.