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Afraid Of My Parents

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm currently a 14-year-old girl, and I'm afraid of my parents. They yell and scream all the time, and they often blow little things out of proportion and blame me and my siblings for things we never did. They sometimes loose their tempers, and a couple weeks ago my mom lashed out at me and left bruises on my arm and back. My father also can get violent, but he hasn't hit me since I was nine, so I'm not even sure if it's worth mentioning. I feel bad for not being able to protect my siblings, I'm the oldest, I'm supposed to protect them, right? But, the people I'm trying to protect them from are my parents, and that just makes the situation worse... I have also been having severe suicidal thoughts lately, I'm sat in the bathroom with a knife to my wrist daring myself to end it all, but I never could. I was too cowardly. It's not exactly that I want to end my life, but sometimes I just can't seem to see an alternative. It might have to do with the fact that I don't truly open up to people at school, ever. It's almost like a complete fear to open my mouth and speak my opinions. If I do speak to anyone, I can only see how stupid I think I must have sounded. Maybe I stuttered, maybe I laughed oddly, maybe I said the wrong thing, maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut, it eats me up inside. I feel like adding more would just be a waste of time, there are other things bothering me, but I wouldn't want to put too much in this letter. Anyway, most are things I would never tell anyone. I appreciate you taking a look at this letter. Even if I don't get a response, I guess it still helped to tell it to someone. Thanks again.
Signed: Afraid Of My Parents

Dear Afraid Of My Parents,


TeenHealthFX is very sorry to hear that you are living in fear of your parents. Ideally, a person’s home should be a place where they feel loved, comforted, and protected – and unfortunately it sounds like that is not the case for you. It is not your responsibility to keep your siblings safe – that is the job of your parents. And if they are unable to do it (or they are the ones causing the harm), then it is up to other adults in the community to help ensure the safety and well-being of you and your siblings – this is because, as a fourteen year old teenager, this is way too big of a burden for you to bear alone.


FX thinks that it is very important that you talk to a trusted adult (such as a therapist, school counselor, teacher, your primary care physician, or a neighbor) about what has been happening at home so an adult can intervene in the situation. That adult may need to contact child protective services based on the physical and emotional abuse that is occurring (or you can contact them yourself – see the contact information listed below). A case manager from child protective services can determine whether or not it is safe for you and your siblings to continue living in the home, and they can also mandate counseling for your parents so that they can address their anger and parenting issues. In addition, that case manager can arrange for counseling services for you and your siblings so you can have a supportive adult to turn to as you learn to cope with all that has happened in your home.


FX can understand if you have been feeling suicidal lately, as you are dealing with an abusive situation all on your own. But rather than to contemplate suicide, FX sincerely hopes that you will reach out for help with this situation, as there are adults out there who care and who will want to help. FX also wants you to remember that with the help of the trusted adults around you, things can definitely get better for you and your siblings.


FX also hopes you will not be too hard on yourself about your interactions with others. When you grow up dealing with various kinds of abuse, it can be extremely hard to feel comfortable and safe around others – it can be hard to know how to interact in a healthy and positive way because that hasn’t been role-modeled for you, and it can be hard to trust new people when you have felt so hurt by the people who have been closest to you. This is also an issue that a therapist can be helpful with – so know, too, that this part of your life can also improve with some time and work, as well.


If you live in New Jersey and need to report child abuse, please call 1-800-NJ-ABUSE. Outside of NJ, contact your state child protective services office (you should be able to find these numbers in your phone book or online). You can also contact the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-792-8610, 24 hours, 7days a week to report physical or sexual abuse and to get help.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers.


If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Signed: TeenHealthFX