“My mom takes all her anger out on me I’ve tried in the past, sitting and talking with her about how it affects me and my mental health but any time we do she gets more upset and screams at me telling me that its my fault and that I’m a burden to her. I know she loves me but she ignores me sometimes she just makes me feel like I’m always some kind if problem to her.”
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO FIRST:
- Thank you for reaching out and sharing with the TeenCentral Community. We are glad that you had the courage to open up, join us, and use our safe space. It sounds like you are going through a bit of a rough time with your mother. It must be disheartening to feel as if your mother does not hear you and also that you feel she does not empathize with your mental health needs. I do want to take a second to validate you for 1) prioritizing your mental health and being open about your needs, it is not always an easy thing to do and 2) it sounds like you really took some initiative to sit down with your mother and try to have a productive conversation, that too shows great maturity to talk directly to someone about your feelings.
- I think you will find that you are not alone in some of what you are going through right now. Even if you take the time to scan our STORIES tab, a lot of individuals have written in about some tough discussions with their family. If you check out our WHAT’S NEW tab, you will find some great resources for coping such as stories on Journaling, Art, and strengthening your mental wellness. Taking control of your personal wellness is a great idea because, we cannot control the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of others but what we can do is care for ourselves and put healthy and kind vibes out in to the world. For more on taking care of yourself, you would love our LEARN tab and check the subheading “Wellness”.
- Do you have another healthy friend, family member, adult, or guidance counselor that you could use as a resource to talk to about this situation? We are very social beings and often helps us to have another positive person to talk to when we are going through a hard time. Perhaps going forward, this person could get both sides of the story and help you with your communication with your mother. They could also help you weigh the pros and cons of the situation, and give you an extra support on those harder days.
WHERE YOU CAN GO FROM HERE:
- So, it also sounds like you have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself when discussing this situation with your mother. I hear you saying things like feeling like a problem and a burden. There is a saying that, assumptions are the termites of a relationship…this means sometimes when we read in to things, try to mind read, or take on blame that is not ours to take on…it causes holes in the foundation of a relationship. A conversation is a two sided event and healthy communication involves the willingness of both sides to be open, to compromise, to listen, and share. Next time you feel these ways, rather than making an assumption about what your mother is thinking, try asking for clarification of what she means. Perhaps incorporate your feelings in to the discussion, (“Sometimes, I feel as if you think I am a burden….) As humans, its in our nature to seek meaning but it helps to get all the facts and also to use clear feeling statements without placing blame.
- Have you considered alternative ways to educate your mother on mental health? Keep in mind you cannot force someone to change their mind about a situation, but you can have an educated discussion where you both try to see the other’s point without judgment. You could point your mother to the NAMI website (National Alliance on Mental Illness: Home | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness ) and look for resources. Sometimes, they even run local educational (and free) seminars in some areas! It may help if you also help her destigmatize mental health, there are lots of great films involving positive depictions of individual with varying mental health diagnosis (Rain Man 88′, As Good as it Gets 97′, and A Beautiful Mind 01′, or even Inside Out 15′). You can easily google famous individuals who have managed their mental health and been quite successful, such as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Michael Phelps, and Daniel Radcliff.
- Lastly, as we stated earlier, we cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself. When you are having a rough day, fall back on a hobby, read a book, take a walk/be in nature, call a friend, do a puzzle, practice mindfulness. There was an old movie from 1960 called Pollyanna, and when things were not going well, the little girl played the “glad game” and essentially choose to think about all the things that were going right in the moment, the things she could be glad for. Practicing stillness, listening to your breath, and allowing the racing thoughts to pass is a quick and helpful tool that might give you some peace back so that you can get to the things that are going right in your world. We can start with one thing you said, “I know she loves me”. Remember, you cannot change yesterday, but you can lose the peace of today by worrying too much about tomorrow. Keep up the good work!