I was robbed of my teenagehood after my mom died

Dear Gaone Please keep my identity anonymous. I am the eldest child in my family, I have two younger siblings who are now in their mid twenties. My mom died just after I entered adolescence. Subsequent to her death, my father whom we stayed with turned into an alcoholic until he died two years later. As a result of my father’s alcoholism, I filled the leadership gap in our home by assuming the role of a parent to my littler siblings. To date they still treat me as if their mom and dad despite the minimal age gap between us. Some of my relatives sing sky high praises of me for having parented and continuing to parent my siblings. Nonetheless, I mostly feel depressed. I feel that I have been robbed of my teenage hood. Even in my adult life I find myself being the primary giver and caretaker in my relationships, never is the scale of reciprocity balanced in my life. Kindly advise.

Dear Anonymous From the rendition of your story, it is evident that you were parentified in your teenage years. Parentification/emotional incest is where the child ‘parents’ the parent; the roles here are reversed, the parent becomes the child and the child becomes the parent.

This is where the parent turns to the minor to satisfy their emotional needs instead of relating with other age appropriate adults who can be there for the parent emotionally.


Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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