Are You A Pariah in Your Family?

Carol Burt
5 min readApr 6, 2020
Photo by Isaiah Bustad on Unsplash

You may not be the one with a problem.

Does mental illness make me a pariah in my own house with my own family? It certainly feels like it. I’m pretty sure others have felt the same.

If I’m in a bad mood, I’m asked if I took my medicine. My loved ones feel perfectly justified in taking my inventory. They have at times checked my med organizer to make certain I took them. I’m not allowed to have an ordinary bad day. I’m not allowed to be angry at anyone. When I tell my family of an argument I have had with someone — they don’t support me. No. Instead they want to know why I engaged in the argument. They think I argued because of my mental illness and they don’t make a secret of it.

Honestly, (forgetting what to expect) I was recently told after describing a lively debate with a friend that “you’re just a bit touchy today.” “Did you get enough sleep last night?”

I’m always wrong because I’m sick

Noooo. I argued because it was an important point I felt shouldn’t be discounted. Others do that all the time. But if I argue or, god forbid, get angry, my point is never important, never worth considering and never supported. I’m always wrong because I’m sick. The general consensus is that I started an argument because I’m a nut. No matter how lofty and righteous my point — and even if it’s exactly what my family advocates — I will not get support.

I was today accused of “being in a bad mood” because I insisted a teenager in my household obey and discontinue his impudent responses. What? I thought I was being responsible and clear about expectations. I don’t believe in letting children argue or ignore me when told to do chores like cleaning their rooms. That makes me crazy? Or a normal parent?

Mostly, no one is told out loud to just ignore me because I’m “mental,” but that’s the takeaway. That is the general response to any complaint I share. It doesn’t matter what the subject may be. Yes, I have mental illness, but I’m also intelligent and even — gasp — learned in some subjects.

I have been in high places with great responsibility. I have real expertise in some fields. That apparently doesn’t matter. I seemingly never know what I’m talking about.

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Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.