Help. I’m taking my stress out on my boyfriend.
From an American teen: I moved to live with my mom about four months ago after running away from my father, who lives in another state. I hated him so much, he used to abuse me and would go through stages where he didn’t want me talking to anyone or having any friends. I ended up attempting suicide several times. First I tried overdosing and it never worked, then I tried cutting myself, which was also a failure. I was only in ninth grade at that time. That year I met my current boyfriend. We have been together ever since then. I love him a lot and he never brought any problems into the family. He actually made my life better. I never even thought about killing myself after meeting him.
I was planning on moving out of my house the day I turned 18 to get away from my father, and live with my BF. Me and my father got into a huge argument one day and he told me that I was only allowed to go to school and back home, that I wasn’t allowed to see my BF ever again. He warned me that if I decided to go anywhere else to never come back. After crying for a little while and after I had calmed down I realized that this would be my chance to finally get out of there. I called my best friend and she asked her dad if it would be ok for me to stay there a while and he agreed to let me. So that weekend I secretly packed up all of my stuff and while my dad was at work my bf helped me move out. I left a note telling him that I had left so I wasn’t going to come back. He called me later yelling at me. Which I found humorous because for once in my life I wasn’t afraid of him. He pretty much said whatever, that I was on my own now. My mom found out and called me. The next day my mom told me that I had to choose to live with her or go back with my father because it was the law. There was no chance in hell I would ever live with my father again so I agreed to move. When I broke the news to my bf and best friend we all cried for almost hours together.
Since I have been here I have stayed good friends with both of them and me and my bf are still dating. He got to visit during winter break and there are more visits planned for both of them. I have actually had some trouble with my BF because of the distance. And school can be pretty hard sometimes. I have been making better grades here than I did before and I have made a few friends, actually quite a bit of friends, more than I had in my old school. But I just get so frustrated at everything.
Some days I will be so incredibly happy, I would practically be skipping home after school (not literally though :P ) And then other days I would either be so mad that I would yell at anyone who said anything to me, or so sad that I would go straight lay in bed and cry for hours. I haven’t tried to kill myself and I never want to try it again, but I do take my anger out on a lot of people. Especially my BF.
Because of the fact that it’s a long distance relationship, things can’t be the same. We talk on the phone everyday and sometimes talk with a web cam, but it’s not good enough for me some times and even if My bf isn’t doing anything wrong I will be so mad, I think i’m mad at him and I yell at him. I tell him that he doesn’t care about me and that he never does anything for our relationship, but in reality he cares about me a lot, it makes him really sad when I think that he doesn’t care about me. When he came to visit everything was perfect again, we didn’t argue, and I felt like he still cared about me. He is going to move to the town I live in around August. Is there anything that can help me be more happy? I don’t want to come home crying or be so pissed at the world for no reason any more. I want to feel normal, right now I feel completely insane.
A: I don’t think you’re insane. I think you are having a normal adjustment reaction following some very big changes. Even when change is generally good, it can still be stressful. In your case, there are multiple changes, some good, some difficult. Your feelings and behavior make absolute sense to me. It’s not at all unusual for a person going through a situation like yours to have a mixture of anxiety and some depression as well as what feel like normal periods. In fact, it might help you to know that adjustment reactions are the most common reasons that people go find a counselor.
Let’s review the situation: You left your dad. Even if he was a pain, he’s still your dad and you probably have mixed feelings about your relationship with him and how you left. You left your school and everything that was familiar. You left your two most important peers (your best friend and your boyfriend). You are making new friends which is always a challenge when a teen moves to a new place. You probably don’t yet feel close enough to any of them to confide in them. And you are figuring out a new school with new teachers and new standards. I would also guess that you and your mom are having your ups and downs as you figure out how to live together. Whew! No wonder you feel kind of shaky right now.
Here are some suggestions for what to do: You didn’t mention your relationship with your mother. If you feel she can be sympathetic and helpful, I hope you will talk to her about how you are feeling. She moved once too so she may have some ideas for how to feel better. Self care is especially important in times like this. Make sure you are following routines, getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting some exercise. Finally, I hope you will seriously consider taking your problems to a counselor instead of taking them out on the people who love you. If you’re not sure how to find a counselor, ask your mom, the school nurse or guidance counselor, or a teacher you feel good about. A counselor will give you some support and will help you learn new ways to cope with both your inner feelings and the outer realities.
You do need to figure out for yourself how to manage your feelings when you are stressed. Even though your boyfriend is going to join you come summer, you don’t want to be so dependent on him for your stability that you overburden your relationship. I strongly suggest that you use this next few months as a time to learn to take care of yourself and to build your own emotional strength.
I wish you well.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Help. I’m taking my stress out on my boyfriend.. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/19/help-im-taking-my-stress-out-on-my-boyfriend/