What a sad, sad story. It’s hard enough to be struggling with so many inner demons without having to struggle with the family too. All I can guess is that your siblings are angry that you take up a lot of family energy and that maybe your parents feel helpless to help you. Sometimes when people feel angry and helpless, they would rather blame or exclude the person they can’t help than face their own feelings of powerlessness or failure. Whatever the reason, this is a miserable situation all around. No one in this family sounds really happy and you have become the family scapegoat.
In order to build up your self-identity, getting yourself in treatment is the first part of the equation. You have far too many troubles for someone who is only in her teens to handle by herself. You’re right. You can’t just switch off your problems. But a therapist could help you learn to manage your feelings and could work with you and your family to change your role in the family.
If you are not seeing a therapist, please talk with your family doctor or your school guidance counselor to help you find one. If you are in treatment, I hope you are telling the therapist what you told me. A therapist can only work with what she or he is told.
As noted on the Cyber Bulling Research Center’s website, “We have to try to get to a point where our identity isn’t completely wrapped up in how others perceive us. And this is so hard. Most adults haven’t gotten to a good place with this yet. But we know our own feelings and emotions and opinions – we can’t fully trust them. They change all the time. That’s how it is for everybody. And if our identity – who we know we are – is constantly dependent on what other people are saying about us, it is going to be a really rough life. You won’t ever fully “own” who you are. You’ll be at the mercy of catering to the thoughts and feelings and opinions and pressures and demands of others. And this is an awful way to live.
You have got to get your identity from something stable. Something unchanging. Something that can tell you who you are, where you can believe it and be forever sure about it. And then, when you can get that into your heart, fully and truly, you can live your life out of it. And then life honestly becomes so much better.”
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on March 1, 2008.