I’m so very sorry that you don’t feel you have anyone to turn to. I doubt very much that you’ve done anything wrong. I doubt very much that you bring other bad luck to other people. It sounds like the adults in your family are overwhelmed and depressed and are looking for someone to blame. For some reason, you’ve become what is called the family scapegoat – the person who is blamed when people can’t or won’t manage their own problems. It’s an unfair and sad place to be in.
Reading your letter, I’m curious about your aunt. I wonder if you’ve talked to her as much as you could. Is there any chance she would talk to your mother about getting some counseling? Is she willing to have you spend more time with her?
Your brother may be right that your parents won’t listen to the kids but can the two of you listen to each other? You both understand what it’s like to be a kid in the family and how stressful it can be. There’s no reason that siblings can’t also be friends and a support for each other.
If neither of those possibilities can work for you, please understand that you aren’t alone. Not everyone gets the family they deserve. Some kids have to just do the best they can until they can leave.
According to TeensHealth website, “Every family has arguments. Friends, couples, coaches, and teachers can get upset, frustrated, or have a bad day. We all go through difficult times when someone is stressed and angry. Punishments and discipline — like removing privileges, grounding, or being sent to your room — are common.”
“Yelling and anger can happen in lots of parent–teen relationships and in friendships — although it can feel pretty bad to have an argument with a parent or friend. But if punishments, arguments, or yelling go too far or last too long it can lead to stress and other serious problems.”
“People who are being abused need to get help. Keeping the abuse a secret doesn’t protect anyone from being abused — it only makes it more likely that the abuse will continue. If you or anyone you know is being abused, talk to someone you or your friend can trust — a family member, a trusted teacher, a doctor, or a school or religious youth counselor. Many teachers and counselors have training in how to recognize and report abuse.”
“Telephone and online directories list local child abuse and family violence hotline numbers that you can call for help. There’s also Childhelp USA at (800) 4-A-CHILD ( 422-4453).”
If your family doesn’t get any better, spend as little time at home as you can and focus on making a positive future for yourself. Find activities like sports or volunteer work or a job that will keep you busy after school and on weekends and will introduce you to new people. Save your money. Work hard at your studies so that you can apply for scholarships to go to university. In a few years, you’ll be old enough to leave home and start a life of your own. You can make it a good one.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 5, 2009.