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May 23, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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My parents are depressing me

Question:

Dear whoever may help me,

I think I'm suffering from depression! There is a scholarship test you take when you are in year 6 and for parents like mine, it is a big deal. I only got a partial scholarship last year in July and since then, my parents have been taking any chance to accuse me of this. I've contacted my teacher and a close friend of my dad in this period. Both have talked to my parents but they haven't changed one bit. Instead they accuse me off telling others about them.

Recently a girl's mother had been murdered in my area. The girl has told media what a nice mother she was to her. She said she never compared her with any other child (which my parents always do) and that she always got her anything she wanted (I don't get anything I want just things I need.) I was imagining myself with her as my mother. My mother doesn't beat me but my father does. My mother prefers to use words. I always feel like running away. I would but I don't know where to go. The only thing that keeps me going in life is my friends, music and love. I want to be a musician but I know that my parents will refuse and make me a doctor. Please help me as much as you can! I'm just 12.

Lisa, 12 years old

Answer:

Dear Lisa,

I feel for you, because for different reasons and in different ways, my childhood was full of the same kind of pain. But maybe that will give you hope: I built a very good life for myself, and so can you.

A wise man once said, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." He was right, to a point. It can also make me bitter and resentful and helpless. But I do have the choice.

Look, suppose you plant a tree seedling and put a solid barrier around it so it is completely protected from wind. When it is 2 years old, you remove the barrier. Do you know what happens? The first wind will break branches off, and a strong wind will shatter the trunk. A young seedling is flexible. As it moves in the wind, it develops scar tissue where it is bent, and this gives it strength.

The same is true for us. If you choose to, you can look at the bad treatment from your parents as what strengthens you for the rest of your life. As an adult, you will be successful and strong, and cope with anything, because you know you survived as a kid.

You have another choice, and I think you have already made that one. Some people who are treated badly in childhood then do it to others. They feel themselves to be weak and damaged and undeserving of love, so they build themselves up by putting other people down. I did not do that. Instead, I have looked on what was done to me as a lesson in how NOT to behave. So, for all my life, I have been there for hurt people and things, and helped the best way I could. In the same way, you can use your parents as negative role models: whatever you don't like about their actions, you do the opposite.

At the same time, I am sure both your mum and dad have good qualities. Study them, and find the good things they do. Then, you can also use them as positive role models and copy the good things while rejecting the bad things.

I am glad you have music in your life. It is a wonderful resource to be creative and to make beauty. Use it as therapy. When things go wrong, play music. If you can't, do it in your head. Did you know that in Boston, there is a symphony orchestra composed entirely of doctors? My daughter does research into neuropsychology, but she is also a musician.

Since very few people can make a living completely from music, your parents probably have your best interest in mind when wanting you to have another profession, even if they go about it the wrong way. Take the good and throw away the bad. I don't know if you have the abilities to become a doctor because I have never met you. But the preparation is a science course through high school. That is both useful in its own right, and fascinating. Take joy in learning, and that's another protection, like music. When I was your age, my two antidepressants were study and running.

My dear, I hope my words have been of help to you.

Bob

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.

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