One problem after another


One problem after another


your avatar   Beccy, 15-year-old girl

I am 15, in the 11th grade. I hate my high school. I have family problems, and lots of other problems. My life is full of problems. I think I have depression. I get bullied.

I hate my life. Nothing goes right for me anymore. At school I get bullied badly; everyone hates me and thinks I'm a joke not a person. I am friends with these girls because I don't want to be alone. Other than that they don't respect me, they always hang out and I'm never invited, and they don't care about me. I care about them and do everything they ask me to because I'd rather have someone. There's no one else who would be my friend so that's my only option.

At home things aren't better. My mum constantly tells me how worthless I am; she tells me that I trouble her life. She compares me to my friends and it really gets me down. She often beats or shouts at me. When she collects me and the girls from my school walk past my car and laugh, she asks me why I can't get along with people. I don't get along with my brother or sister. Another reason my mum shouts at me. I am always fighting with them - they are like the bullies in my high school.

My dad was the only one I loved. He lives in Australia with his new wife. I wanted to go and live with him but my mum would never let that happen. She has custody of me so there's no leaving. I want to run away from all of this or just die. I hate myself, my life, and my family. I don't have anyone to talk to. I'm scared to go to school tomorrow. I can't sleep at night before school. I stay in my room because I feel safe there.

I was molested by my neighbor. If I tell all he's going to get is 18 months in juvenile because he was 17 years old - I was only 12 (to further add to my list of problems). I have a very unfortunate life. I am a worthless human wouldn't it be better for everyone if I killed myself? Who would care if I did? I'm sure my friends would pretend to be sad for attention.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Beccy,

That sexual abuse when you were 12 is not just an additional problem. My guess is, it is at the base of all the problems you have described. If that boy was 17 three years ago, he is a 20-year-old adult now, and he will go to adult jail. Don't let him get away with it. Every time such guys are punished, it sends a message to society that girls like you deserve dignity and decency, and are not just things to be used.

I was a victim when I was your age (not of sexual abuse, but otherwise many of the things you have described). Because I had been victimized as a little child, I sent out the message, "Kick me!" And wherever I went, someone would.

Over 2 years, in my early 20s, I did a number of things that changed how I saw myself, and how I saw the world around me, and the victimization stopped. I expected respect, and got it. If I could change my world, you can change yours.

You are NOT a worthless human being. You are the survivor of sexual assault, and that means you need justice, not condemnation. When you respect and even like yourself again, those bullies will find someone who is still vulnerable, and leave you alone.

Why should you stay alive? Because you have suffered, you have the main qualification to help others who are suffering. Aim to go into one of the helping professions, or the police, or law, or teaching - some activity that allows you to help those who need it.

No doubt this means that you quickly need to catch up on your studies. Very often, being traumatized gets in the way of being able to learn. But what I found was that study is a wonderful antidepressant. When I was 15, I read everything I could get my hands on, and learned as much as I could about anything and everything. The summer of my 15th year, I spent the school holidays reading all of Shakespeare's writings, for interest. This was because while I was immersed in some book, I could forget about my lonely, bullied, miserable life.

So, I suggest you choose a profession, then spend as much energy and time as you can to prepare yourself for it. At the same time, insist on therapy to deal with the effects of the sexual assault against you.

Here is one more tool: Design the Beccy you would like to be. Imagine you are now 20 years old, have left your parents and are living by yourself, attending college. What does this Beccy do? How do people react to her, and what does she do to ensure this? How does she react when she looks in the mirror? How does she handle rudeness or rejection? Design her. Then spend effort into moving into her; become that person.

Your new grandfather,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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