My parents haven’t been talking; I’m going crazy!

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

In March, my parents had this huge fight and they haven’t been talking since. This isn’t the first time this happened, but usually it only lasts a few days, maybe a week. This time, I think it’s serious.

I really don’t know what the fight was originally about, but it doesn’t really matter at this point, all I want is my family back together. They always talk using my sister (she’s 11) and I as messengers and when the other one isn’t around, they always talk to me and my sister about each other and how much they hate each other. They cuss and everything and I love them both so much and it hurts to hear those things said about each other.

Also, my parents have been acting differently towards my sister and me. My dad always talks down on me, is always complaining about how I talk and picking on me at every chance he gets. My mom’s been doing the same to my sister.

This is really taking a major toll on me. I’ve been crying a lot more, getting more sensitive about things, and I’ve even considered suicide a few times (that really scared me). I’m conservative about this kind of stuff with my friends and teachers: I don’t talk to anyone about my home life and I don’t try to “rebel” or anything like that in school; I get good grades and stay out of trouble. I have good friends, but I can’t trust them with this thing. I can’t trust them, period. They always blurt out stuff I tell them and I find it so hard to talk to anybody. Teachers…they seem nice enough but I REALLY don’t want to make a big deal about this.

Can somebody please help me push through this? I only have a few more years until I’m off on my own, but sometimes I feel like I’m not going to make it. Help?

A: Thank you for letting us have the opportunity to respond. Your parents have lost sight of their primary responsibility toward you, and you are feeling the loss of their stability. This is making it difficult for you to have some peace in your life, which means your symptoms are very understandable. And…this is a big deal. It seems like your mom and dad can’t be there for you in the way they need to be. While that is unfortunate it doesn’t imply that you can’t find ways to feel better. The fact that you feel frightened by your suicidal thoughts is a healthy thing. If they didn’t frighten you there would be something very wrong.

I know you said you didn’t want to talk about your family issues in school, but you have important needs that are not being met and talking about them is the quickest, safest way to take care of yourself. You found the courage to write us, and in many ways this is the same thing I am asking you to do with someone you trust at school. Perhaps there is a favorite teacher, or a guidance counselor you can talk to. You don’t have to say everything. You might simply start by saying your parents are going through a rough time and you feel upset and want to talk about it. Let them know you had thoughts about hurting yourself that scared you. Good teachers and guidance counselors will understand. You just need a safe place to talk about your feelings.

The goal here is for you to put together a support system for yourself. Talking about it with others you can trust is the right way to go.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). My parents haven’t been talking; I’m going crazy!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/12/my-parents-havent-been-talking-im-going-crazy/