I want desperately to move

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 14 years old and have social anxiety / depression. When I was 5 years old, my father was killed in a car crash. After that, my mother continued to work. When I was 9, my mom and I were in a severe car accident. She broke every bone on the right side of her body and I ruptured my spleen and fractured my leg.

When we both got home from the hospital (about 3 weeks later) my grandfather moved in and brought along his 3 dogs and 2 cats. Flash to now, 5 years later. My mother is dissabled and can barely walk, while my grandfather still lives with us, still with all his animals. This whole area makes me think of the horrible things that have happened in the past years. And to make things worse, a relative that sexually abused me as a small child moved in across the street from us, about 9 months ago, and visits my grandfather at least twice a day, everyday.

I want me and my mother to move desperately. I can’t stand constantly seeing my abuser every single day. And the dogs/cats living here aren’t allowed outside and eliminate all over the carpet/linolium. My grandfather has taken over the house and me or my mother have no say in anything anymore.

I want to tell my mother this in a way where she will understand that moving is the best thing for me. I’ve told her this and she gets angry when I bring it up. I can’t do this much longer, its been over 5 years and I feel like I’m slowly drowning in depression. Please, how can I explain this to my mother where she will see that it’s so important to me?

A: I’m very glad you wrote. My guess is that your mother is in some way dependent on her father for help. She is also in physical and emotional pain. It’s likely she can’t find the energy to consider a move. When you bring it up, it may make her feel terrible that she can’t take care of the two of you on her own. It’s easier for her to be angry than to face how helpless she must feel. Those are just guesses, of course. Only you can determine if they make any sense.

Whatever the case, this is far too big a problem for a 14-year-old, even a 14-year-old as mature as you are, to handle alone. You need to find a school counselor or another sympathetic adult to help you talk with your mother. A counselor or someone else in the helping professions will know if there are public resources available to people who are disabled and in need. It may be that there is subsidized housing available as well as other benefits. Your mom may not know what they are or how to apply.

Please take someone into your confidence. You and your mother have been through so much. You need and deserve some practical help as well as emotional support.

Whenever you need someone to give you some encouragement, consider calling the Boys and Girls Town Hotline at 800-448-3000. Counselors are available 24/7 to help teens who are stressed out. Talking with them is free.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I want desperately to move. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/13/i-want-desperately-to-move/