Trouble with Parents

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

To begin, I live with my mother and two brothers. My mother has been going threw a divorce from my step father for 2 years (who I’ve lived with since I was about 6 months old and is the father of the two brothers I currently live with). My biological father lives in Israel and has never really been involved in my life, just weekly phone calls.
Anyhow, we just moved out of our house and into a new one and I have been constantly fighting with my mother. I feel like she actually hates me, and over the past couple of months our relationship has been crumbling. I try to work as much as I can (babysitting, piano lessons, etc) while going to school, and I pay for/ do everything on my own. Gas, laundry, insurance, etc.

And my mom says all of these hurtful comments to me and I honestly don’t understand why and I guess the reason Im on this forum is to see is maybe you have a clue? She tells me Im a selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, inconsiderate.. but I really don’t see how?! She tells me I have no idea what she is going threw, no idea what kind of stress she is under, but not once has she asked me how Im handling this divorce? How is school? Hows my LIFE..

For instance.. my car completely broke and its 800$ to repair and I don’t have that kind of money and she tells me she wont help me because of the way I treat her, and thats not her priority. I’m not even expecting her to pay, but the fact that she shows no sympathy for how Im going to commute to school or work is upsetting.

She does anything for my brothers, but wont do anything for me.. she’s never really shown me affection, I cant remember the last time she said “I love you” or even given me a hug without me having to mention her lack of affection first. I’m not sure what to do anymore because it’s starting to really wear me down.

Another issue I have is with my step father.. he’s under the impression he’s always been here all my life. But in actuality he hasn’t, he has never supported me finically, and only until recently- maybe even the divorce- has he started to become in tune with my life emotionally. Anyhow, I was telling him about my issues with my mother and he offers to sell me his car.. which is JUNK for 1300 (WAAAAY OVER PRICED) .. and then he tells me I can rent out the room in his house for 300 a month.. should I be appalled? He claims to be my father and he’s asking me for money to live with him? Idk Im utterly disturbed and I feel like I no longer have anyone to rely on.. not even my parents/mother
Im not even sure what my question is.

A: What a mess! Sometimes life is indeed very, very unfair. It sounds to me like you’re doing everything that can be expected of you and more. Your mother may be projecting her feelings about herself onto you. Money seems tight all around so both parents cast about for ways to keep or get what money they can, forgetting that you are still their child, not an adult who should take total care of herself financially. But having some guesses about the reasons for their behavior isn’t going to make you feel any better.

I don’t think you are going to talk sense into either of these people. They are going to have to come to terms with themselves in their own time. What you can do is focus on making a life for yourself. At 18, you are almost at a point where you can be independent. If you want to go to college, study hard so you will qualify for some scholarship aid. If you aren’t interested in more schooling, start thinking about how you can make enough money to get a place with a friend or two.

Most important, look for other adults who can mentor and support you. Not all of us get the family we deserve. Sometimes we have to make a new “chosen family” to get the emotional base and practical support we need. Perhaps one of your friends has a family that is happy to fold you in. Or maybe you have an adult friend through school or work or an activity you belong to. Nurture those relationships. They can enrich your life.

Hopefully, your folks will eventually come to their senses and be more parental. But if they can’t or won’t, you’ll feel better if you have developed a circle of caring people you care about.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Trouble with Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/19/trouble-with-parents/

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