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Cry Myself To Sleep Every Night

Published: October 12, 2015
Dear Cry Myself To Sleep Every Night,

Dear TeenHealthFX, my mother and father got extremely mad and disappointed when they found out that I had failed 2 grammar tests. (Note: I live in New York and I am terrible at grammar.) My mother hit me several times with her hands and arms and slapped me a few times. My mother and father proceeded to force me to say, "what my problem is." I told them that I was afraid to ask for help, and she yelled,"bullshit," in my face. She forced me to say that I was lazy. For almost and hour my parents were yelling at me about how much of a shitty person I was, for failing 2 tests on my first language. Now, my father doesn't administer the beatings to me, my mother does. The full truth is that I fear her, even if she is acting nice and happy. My problem is not as much that I get beatings, but that my parents are always on my back because of my grades. Is it wrong for me to think about suicide or to be depressed when my parents constantly remind me to do good or when they remind me that I suck at something? One day I'll get honors, and another day I can fail grammar and I'll find myself thinking about suicide or leaving my family forever.(Another note: I am a 13-yr old male, and I am really shy in front of most people. I also harbor a lot of anxiety and paranoia.) I'm more or less always finding myself thinking about climbing to the top of my roof and jumping, or slitting my self, or hanging myself. What should I do? Why are my parents constantly, "bullying," me to get good grades and to do well? Thanks and please help, "Cry myself to sleep every night."

Dear Cry Myself To Sleep Every Night,

TeenHealthFX is very sorry to hear about how you are being treated by your parents, and the subsequent pain and anger you must be dealing with as a result. People will sometimes think of suicide when they are feeling hopeless about the possibility of things getting better, when they feel very badly about themselves, and when they are dealing with a tremendous amount of pain and anger. These constant experiences with your parents where they are so physically and verbally hurtful to you could understandably bring up these kinds of feelings for you. However, FX wants to stress to you that suicide is not the answer. For one thing, there are caring people out there who will want to be helpful to you – so there is hope that things can get better for you. Second, your parents are not relating to you this way because there is some problem with who you are. They are relating to you this way because of very significant personal issues within themselves. (Getting to a place where you understand this distinction is VERY important). Third, there are people out there who can help you to deal with your pain and anger and better manage the situation you are in. So please do not focus your thoughts on harming yourself, but rather on getting help for yourself.

The most important thing right now is for trusted adults to be alerted to your situation at home so that they can intervene on your behalf. While you have given some examples of what can go on, FX is not clear about the extent of physical and emotional harm that is coming to you from your parents. That said, it is important for a trusted adult to assess the extent of the problem. It is important for a trusted adult to make sure you are safe and protected in your home environment, that you receive counseling to deal with the impact that all of this has had on you, and that your parents receive the help they need to deal with their personal issues that contribute to this abusive behavior.

You could talk to your family doctor, school nurse or school counselor about what is going on. Depending on the extent of the problem they may need to contact child protective services to determine if you are safe in the home and to intervene in your getting the help you need. If you have any concerns about your parents’ reactions to your talking to someone about this, it is very important for you to tell your doctor, school nurse or school counselor about it so they can proceed in a way that keeps you safe.

Your other option would be to contact New York’s Child Protective Services yourself by calling 800-342-3720.  And if you ever feel in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

The nature of your relationships with you parents may have (understandably) affected your being trusting of others or being able to imagine that other people could be kind, caring, and interested in your well-being. This is a normal reaction, but do not let it stop you from seeking out help. It is important that you ultimately get connected with a reputable clinical social worker or clinical psychologist who can address all these issues with you – including issues about any difficulties in connecting to others.