I Disappoint My Family

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am 15 years old and the youngest of five kids. Growing up all I ever wanted was for my sisters to like me but they forever criticise. They comment on my weight. On my love life and about how I look. They tell me to get the salad when we go out for tea and that breaking up with my ex-boyfriend was a bad idea because he was good looking, they didn’t care that he wasn’t nice to me. Then I was sexually abused by some boy and when I confided in them they told me I brought it on myself. They tell me they don’t like my friends and that I’m not very popular. My parents think they’re all perfect and call me the ‘disappointment child.’ I broke down the other day because when at church we were singing a hymn and my sister leaned in and told me I had to stop because it was awful. I study music and my voice is my instrument. Voices in my head constantly remind me that no-one likes me and that I am ugly I can usually make them say nice stuff but they’re getting worse. I cry all the time and they don’t care! They talk about me behind my back instead and I just don’t know what to do anymore!

A: Your parents and siblings are huge disappointments! No kid should be the target for criticism and harassment in her own home. Your parents should be ashamed of themselves for tolerating the way your sisters treat you and for joining in the bullying. I don’t really have enough information to analyze your family. My only guess is that your siblings are jealous of you. Unable to match your gifts, they put you down to feel better about themselves. Sometimes parents try to even out their kids’ abilities by putting a gifted kid down. They think they are preventing the other kids from feeling bad. As I said, I don’t have enough information to understand what’s going on so those are only guesses.

I do know this: Not every kid gets the family they deserve. Not every kid is loved, protected, nurtured and supported by their family as they should be. It’s sad and frustrating but it’s the truth. Some kids just don’t get a fair deal. But that doesn’t have to determine what happens in your life. You have a gift. Don’t let anyone take your voice away from you. It’s probably your ticket to a good college and to a different life. Work hard on your music. Write songs to help yourself with the pain. Get yourself involved with a chorus or choir or musical theatre or a band. Such groups will put you in contact with people who share your interests and who support each other is making beautiful sounds in the world. You may meet older people who can mentor you and help you on your way.

In 3 short years, you’ll be able to leave home to go to college. Work hard in school and in activities that support your music so you can apply for a music scholarship. The quality of your life doesn’t have to be determined by your family. You can set your own path and make a future that is filled with supportive people who love you for who you are.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Disappoint My Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/18/i-disappoint-my-family/

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