It's hard enough to be quarantined for months on end with people you love and generally like to be around. It's another thing entirely to be stuck at home with a controlling, emotionally abusive parent who, nevertheless, depends on you daily.
That's the dilemma for one young, 22-year-old woman. She took to Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" to ask if she'd be wrong for "running away" from her disabled mother and leaving her without help because she cannot take it anymore.
OP explains that she is a college student living at her mom's house because of the pandemic. "I've been here since March and I'm at my wits' end," she writes. "You see, my mom keeps getting bombarded with work and relationship-related stress. She often vents to me about it. This has been a thing since I was a teenager."
When parents treat their kids like friends and vent to them about their own problems, that's unhealthy. What's worse is that OP's mom "has a bad habit to taking that stress out" on her. "She'll berate me for doing something she receives as wrong (like not doing the dishes or coming to her fast enough when she calls).
OP's mother is also in a volatile relationship with a narcissist, and he's a huge source of stress for her. She then turns around and takes that stress out on her daughter.
"Overall," OP writes, "I'm just tired of being screamed at and having my boundaries constantly walked all over." She's planning to move our and to travel to Texas to live with her significant other.
The only problem is that her mother is disabled and extremely dependent on her. Apparently, her dad is around but not reliable. Her mother has told her that she would be abandoning her if she left. So she feels guilty about leaving her alone, but she also can't take her abuse anymore.
Her mother is diabetic and has arthritis in addition to limited shoulder mobility, so she can't do things like lift items or open jars without help. Because she's been planning to move out, OP has started trying to clean up her mother's home before she goes, which is "a borderline hoarder's mess."
But her mom refuses to throw anything out. "I even made a detailed plan for storing appliances and organizing the pantry," OP writes. "It was met with disdain and angry grumbling. This was the final straw for me, since I genuinely wanted to help and was met with more yelling about how I don't help enough."
In the comments, OP goes into how her mother will interrupt her and complain that she can't help her when she's in class on Zoom. "I can only work at 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. uninterrupted," she writes.
It's an extremely toxic situation all around. OP wants to know if she'd be wrong for leaving her mom, and commenters swooped in to reassure her. "OP, your mother is using you," one person wrote. "She is perfectly capable of living on her own and taking care of herself... But why would she if she has such a perfect pet on hand to do everything for her? Don't stay."
"Are you supposed to be her full-time caregiver and emotional punching bag forever?" another commenter asked. "Don't set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. You need to do whatever is best for you as an adult... You can also make an anonymous call to your local adult protective services after you leave. They can assess what type of assistance can be provided to her in your absence."
Another commenter provided a wise analogy: "In a plane crash, you're supposed to put on your own air mask before helping anyone else. Your mom is crashing the plane, refusing her own mask, and preventing you from wearing yours too. Time to find a parachute and get out."