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I Don’t Know if I’m Being Abused

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From a teen in the U.S.: For half of my life i’ve been living with my mother and my stepfather in one state until we moved down to another recently.

When my mom was with my biological dad, they fought pretty often but I thought nothing of it. My mom and stepdad have the same problem but as I am older i’m beginning to recognize problems in their relationship. Not only that but there are common arguments that happen over and over again, which makes it hard to approach them.

My main problem is that I feel this could be a cause to some emotional distress i’m having. I feel I cannot talk to friends about this because i’ll burden them with my problems. I’ve been trying to do research on it but I can’t validate what i’m feeling.

To describe it, I have common problems of invalidation when doing house tasks and getting put down when i’m not doing my homework which I think some action is reasonable up to a point. But because of that i’m afraid of doing something wrong and have anxiety over tasks i’m assigned to do around the house. I live in an 8 person house so keeping up with the mess is hard to do.

Apart from that, I used to be very afraid or having anxiety of going out with friends mainly because my parents needed me so much at home to babysit and do chores that I felt like I couldn’t go out. This happened also during extra-curricular activities like Theater (staying out till 10 pm for show week) or clubs.

I feel like I can’t approach anyone in my family or friends to help me validate my feelings at all. After moving a few months back, i’ve noticed that I stay inside more than I should and kinda beat myself up over things that I probably shouldn’t be like doing a simple task wrong. This kind of makes me afraid to get a job.

Is there anything I can do or use to help me validate myself with these feelings? My situation feels like it could be way worse considering that I know many situations of others that are worse than mine.

I Don’t Know if I’m Being Abused

Answered by on -


I don’t have enough information to know if you are being “abused”. It does seem that your life is very complicated. You are a responsible and intelligent young man. A household of 8? I gather that there are other kids in the family, which already makes life complicated. And your mom and stepdad aren’t getting along. And you also recently moved. All this adds up to a high score on the stress-o-meter. It makes sense to me that you are feeling less than wonderful.

I suggest you do the best you can to minimize how much you need other people in the family to validate you. It sounds like they themselves are equally stressed. Instead, do what you think is right and best. Then focus on making new friends and connections in your new town. A part time job is one of the best ways to do that. Do the job well and you will also get some of that validation you are looking for. Your involvement with theatre is also a resource for both friendships and validation.

What will not help is staying home and in your room. Isolating may help you avoid some kinds of stress but it creates even more.

If you have difficulty getting motivated to do the things that will help you help yourself, I suggest you talk with the school counselor or find a therapist to provide you with some needed support. If you can’t do that due to cost or privacy issues, consider calling the Boys Town Hotline. Counselors are available 24/7 to talk to teen like you. It is free and confidential. Here’s the website: You can call, chat online or write.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Don’t Know if I’m Being Abused

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Don’t Know if I’m Being Abused. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 10 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.