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I go through a lot at home. With friends, life’s great, but when I come home I have to deal with the most annoying little sister ever, who does everything she can to get me in trouble and a drunk, illiterate, abusive, prescription pill-popping mother.
When I was younger I used to ask my mom for help with my math homework and if I got it wrong she’d beat me until I got it right (and it took a long time). Since I was eight years old, my mom rarely laughs, but mostly argues instead. I’m, 14 now and nothing’s changed, except now we NEVER have laughs and it’s constant arguments or beatings.
I can never do anything to please my mom. If I sweep in the wrong direction, I get a beating. If I write a list for her the wrong way, I get hit; there’s a lot more that I can’t even list.
I don’t expect you to mend the relationship I have with my mother because I want nothing to do with her but I’ve been having thoughts of suicide in the 7th grade; my best-guy-friend helped me stop having those until recently and I am currently talking to him now about this while writing to you. I actually tried when I was 9 and then again at 12. I also cut myself but stopped recently, again thanks to my guy-friend
It’s frustrating because to the world I look like I’m a happy-go-lucky girl who loves to laugh and smile but in the inside I am a stressed-out, maybe even depressed, I’m not sure. I’ve never cried in front of anyone except my best guy friend and even that’s rare. I’m trying to stay strong but I am getting tired.
Rene can you help me?
Signed Unhappy Teen
It’s REALLY important that you listen to what I’m about to say. As much as I love giving advice, the topics I write about are often far less serious than what you have written in with. So I’m gonna give you a few words as encouragement; but you MUST promise me you will get someone in person who can help you!
YOU ARE WORTHY: Repeat this to yourself, aloud and right now! Now say it again. You.Are.Worthy! You deserve to be here. Period! One of the most heartbreaking things about your letter is the poor treatment you have to endure at the hands of someone who is supposed to love you. Life is hard; as mothers we know that. But as mothers we have also accumulated a wealth of experience with which to deal with life. You don’t have that yet so it’s up to us as parents to guide and protect you until you get there. Unfortunately it sounds like you’re not getting that from your mother as she battles her own demons (alcoholism, drug use). The problem is she’s not doing it in a vacuum and her disease is clouding her ability to make good judgment/decisions with regard to parenting.
YOU HAVE TO TALK TO SOMEONE: Your guy friend is a good start but he can’t help get you out of a dangerous, deteriorating situation, which is what this sounds like. Is there a counselor at school you can confide in? If things are as you say at home (your mother’s drug/alcohol use) there may be signs that someone at the school has already seen. At the very least, it’s an adult who might be able to point you in another, safer direction. You don’t mention relatives; is there someone nearby who you can talk to? What about a family friend? The point I’m trying to make here is, that you cannot, nor should you, have to go it alone. You need to be in a place where you are safe.
RESEARCH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS: To be honest, I’m not really sure what those organizations might be and I’ll open this to my audience who might be able to better help you. But off the top of my head, I would suggest looking into suicide prevention hotline and/or mental health services or talk to your own doctor if you can. You need to find out if you’re depressed and get help for that.
To deal with your mom’s drinking/drug use, go online and see if you can’t find a local chapter of Al-Anon, a support group for families who are dealing with an alcoholic member. They even have a special part of the organization that deals with teens.
As far as your little sister, I’m sorry she pushes your buttons the way she does. But truthfully, that’s what sisters and brothers do. It might just be harder to take for you given all of the other stuff swirling around in your environment. Focus less on her, more on yourself and you’ll probably see she bothers you a whole lot less.
I’ve quoted this before and I’ll use it again here. Once, years ago, I heard someone say, “You can’t steer a still ship.” That’s stuck with me ever since because the message is you have to start somewhere. You need to just start moving, go in a direction. It may not be the right one but it could lead you to the place you need to be and it’s better than being paralyzed by fear.
Don’t give up hope and I’ll end the way I started. You.Are.Worthy!
Good luck honey!
And now I’ll throw your question out to our GEM readers for their advice / insight. We’re all here to help you!
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