A: Unfortunately, you are probably right, there’s “no escaping her” so you’re going to have to try to make the best of it. It sounds like you thought your dad’s girlfriend was nice in the beginning, but things have gone downhill since then. I’m sorry that things have gotten so uncomfortable for you lately. Even though you said your dad has minimized your feelings in the past, I think you need to continue to ask for help. You have some serious concerns about not being treated as well as everyone else in the home, but even more importantly, you have had anxiety attacks and are getting more hopeless about your situation. If you get help now while you are young, you could avoid lots of problems later. If your dad doesn’t do anything about it, try talking to someone else.
I’m curious what role your mother plays in your life now because you haven’t mentioned her. Can you talk to her about your concerns and see if she will take you to therapy? If you don’t live with her now, have you considered moving in with her?
From what you describe in your letter, you could benefit from individual therapy for the anxiety and stress and family therapy to make things more comfortable at home. If your parents don’t get you help soon, speak with your school counselor or nurse. Some schools actually provide counseling now, but if not, they can help you get connected with someone who does.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you start journaling about your feelings. It’s a safe way to express yourself without worrying about the judgment of others. Use it to vent your frustrations about what is going on at home, but also to find positive things in your life. It may also help you talk to your dad in a more effective manner. Instead of just telling him you don’t like his girlfriend (which will make him naturally defensive) speak to him about very specific instances in which you felt hurt and give him examples.
The other saving grace is that you are at an age when your focus will begin shifting to things outside of the home, such as friends, school, extracurricular activities, hobbies and so forth. If you find enough things that make you feel good, you may have a lot more patience to deal with the aspects of your life that you don’t like right now. I hope things get better for you soon.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts