From a 12 year old girl in Lithuania: I can’t tell if my mom is abusing me or if I’m just overreacting. My mom is a normal mom but whenever she gets mad she cusses, hits or ignores me. She calls me bitch, a piece of sh-t, an idiot, and more. However, when she’s on Instagram or in front of other people, she acts as if she never calls me names or stuff.

One time, I was going from school to home with mom and she got mad because she wanted me to pick up my little sister from school but I couldn’t. She went back to school, took all my belongings, and hit me in the car to force me to get me out. I got out of the car and she drove off. I live far from home so I had to call my dad from work to go back home after waiting outside for 3 hours, and it was cold, I didn’t have any jacket on. When I told this to my bestie, she said my mom seems immature and I needed help. But I couldn’t afford to see a therapist without my parents knowing it.

My dads always fighting for me when mom’s out of control, but mom hits him too and when he’s not there I can’t do anything else. When I got my final grades, it was written that I was late once. My mom went crazy and yelling names at me and saying that I’m a hybrid that skips school whenever I felt like it, but I have never skipped school in my life.

My mom thinks she’s always right and she won’t listen to me. Sometimes she embarrasses me and my sister in front of people by yelling and going crazy because again, she was just mad at something else. So basically she just uses me as a stress relieving material whenever she’s mad.

These days I wanna kill myself so I can get rid of her but I get scared attempting. She expects too much from me. I’m scared to tell her my feelings because last time I told her my feelings she got mad. What do I do?

A: You are not over-reacting. Your mom knows she is doing something wrong or she wouldn’t act differently when she is in public. Your dad knows something is wrong or he wouldn’t be taking your side when he witnesses these episodes. No kid deserves to be hit and called names by the parent who is supposed to love and protect them.

I can’t know if your mother is ill, over-stressed herself, has inadequate parenting skills or some combination. I do know that this has to stop. Your dad at least believes you but seems powerless to stop it. Your bestie is right. You (and your dad) need help.

Ask your dad if he will take the initiative to get you all into family therapy. If he can’t or won’t, do talk to a teacher or counselor you trust at school. School personnel often know of ways for kids like you to get some help.

In the meantime, stay out of your mom’s way. Get involved in activities that keep you busy after school. Do assignments in the library. Resist the temptation to argue with your mom. It will probably only make things worse. Instead, tell her you are sorry she feels that way and leave as gracefully as you can.

I hope your dad steps up and helps. If you think it would help, show him your letter and this response.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie