I don’t feel loved by my parents

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I don’t feel loved by my parents, should I leave them forever, or should I try to be friendly with them later?

Ok, today my mom just did the whole “make me feel bad” routine where she yells at me for touching the family computer. I was just dusting off the inside, and now it won’t turn on. This isn’t the first time she did this. She yelled at me also when the DVD drive for my laptop didn’t work. She has to make me feel bad when something screws up. She does the same thing to my sister. She always yells at her for any random thing involving the dogs. In fact she has been trying to tear me a new ever since the hard drive of my old laptop died on me. It’s… I’m at a loss for words. I do know that I never want to talk to her because at random she is either very happy or she will be a very horrible person.

My dad isn’t a gentleman by any means. He always has to yell at someone to get his point across. In a vacation we had, he was yelling at the top of his lungs because he wasn’t even prepared. He couldn’t find his keys or anything. Another time, was when he was yelling at my sister, I was trying to do my homework so I shut the door because I didn’t want to hear them. He opens the door charges at me like he’s going to beat me, but he also yells at me for some reason. I have 2 more years of high school. I’m wondering, since they are some of the most stubborn people, should I get outta Dodge and never look back as soon as I graduate High School and College, or should I try to be friends with them if I return?

A: Your folks sound overwhelmed and unable to cope. Something is going on with them so that losing any control puts them over the edge.You’re 16 now and old enough to look at the larger picture. Instead of being so judgmental, why not take a step back and try to figure out what has these people so tightly wound. Are they having financial or job troubles? Is there pressure coming at them from other parts of the family? Is it possible that your mom, especially, is suffering from a mental illness? Sometimes the behaviors you are describing are not because parents don’t love their kids. It’s because there is something huge in the background that overshadows the love. Imagine how big that something might be!

This is not to say it’s okay for your parents to be yelling and losing it with you and your sister. It’s not. I just want to suggest that there is another way to handle this besides putting up with the tension for 2 more years and then “getting out of Dodge.”

Analyze the whole situation and figure out if there is anything you can do to make things better. Sit down with your folks when things are relatively calm and talk to them about how hard it is to live with all the yelling. They may be so wrapped up in whatever their problems are that they have lost sight of the effect on you kids. Ask them if you can all work together to make things better. If they don’t know how, ask if you could all go for some family counseling to learn how to get along.

If you express all this with caring and concern, not accusations and anger, your parents may be able to hear you and take some action. I certainly hope so – for everyone’s sake. It’s always preferable to find a way to work things out than to give up on a family.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). I don’t feel loved by my parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/10/i-dont-feel-loved-by-my-parents/