When You Are Affected By A Parent’s Mental Illness

Mental Illness - Lakehouse Recovery Center









Parents with a mental health disorder create a four to five higher likelihood that their child will develop the same or a different mental health disorder. At the least, their child will be more prone to risky behaviors which could lead to substance abuse- often accompanied by a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Living in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, or a co-occurring disorder means repairing relationships with family and learning to create healthy boundaries.

It means working through the past, however difficult that might be, and making peace with the future. People in recovery can be lucky enough to have a family who is on board and willing to make changes in their own lives. Others, unfortunately, have parents who remain stuck in their mental illness, either unwilling or incapable of changing.

You’re Going To Be Affected, Period.

The great thing about recovery is that it teaches you to be empathetic and have compassion. Living with your own mental health disorders, you can truly put yourself in your parent’s shoes and recognize the struggles they must go through, because you go through some of them yourself.

Thankfully, as some of the slogans of recovery teach us, we are not saints and recovery is about progress, not perfection. That means you just aren’t going to be a  perfect understanding and unconditional child to your parent all the time. Learning to identify and deal with the way you are affected will help.

You’re Going To Have To Detach

You aren’t the parent, even though your parent isn’t well, they can take care of themselves to the best of their ability and that has to be good enough. It’s good enough for you in your recovery. Detaching is hard, especially if a relationship with a parent who has a mental illness becomes codependent (which it often does). Detaching is easier said than done. Working with a therapist is the most healthy and effective way to gain understanding about your parental relationship and heal from it.

Keep Doing You

Your parent might not be in recovery, ever. You, however, have made the decision to align your life with the principles and tools of recovery. From your experience, you know that you had to bring yourself to this point- nobody else could do it for you.

The same applies to your parent. They’re either going to change or they won’t. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to it. Keep working on yourself to grow, learn, heal, transform, and recover.

Healing is possible from mental illness and addiction. Lakehouse Recovery Center has a solution for you. Our residential programs are designed to promote healing of mind, body, and spirit, while encouraging clients to thrive in recovery by having a lot of fun. For information, call us today at 877.762.3707.


Messages sent through this form are confidential. Required fields are marked with (*).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.