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My Family Life Is a Mess

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My mum and dad portrayed the best family for me, never argued, always treated us right and we were happy. Until my mum and dad split up, I don’t know all the details, I was 7 at the time. When my mum started dating again I was upset, this one occasion the man she was dating wasn’t very nice… I’d rather not go into details.

But my mum remarried to an old friend from school, they’d gone out before. I don’t like him personally. He is a terrible person and a manipulative one. He treats my mum like dirt and ever since he’s been with us my own anxiety and depression have gotten worse, I didn’t actually have anxiety until he came into the picture, I found it hard to breathe in my own home. I ended up cutting my self on several occasions, my mum doesn’t know, nobody does really, i’ve kept so much to myself over 10 years now, i’m 18 in a month. I wanted my real dad at my birthday dinner but mum says that her husband wont like it, its my birthday for christ sake I don’t like it if her new family is there. For the record I don’t say my mums husband is a relative, he’s horrible and spiteful towards me and my sister. He was so mean to my sister she moved out whilst pregnant with my niece, my mum didn’t want her to go, he’s driving me away as well, if I do say so myself—he wants my mum all to himself and he won’t stop until he does get me to leave, i’m just worried what would happen if I did leave, or if I didn’t, my depression was proved to be getting worse after my doctor’s appointment, I don’t want to go but if I end up staying here in this unhappy house I fear I may actually do something worse then cutting myself, Please I need some help and advice. (From Great Britain)

My Family Life Is a Mess

Answered by on -


It is time to leave. See your dad on your birthday, and stop being in orbit around a mother who makes bad choices, doesn’t protect you, and you feel so unsafe with that you can’t even share your emotional struggles with.

Your mom has made her choices — don’t let them be yours. Right now taking care of yourself, going to work or school and starting your journey is the best thing you can do for you — and for her. While you are there she has to deal with her husband, who is in a bad mood. Once you are out you can be free to carve out a life with meaning that doesn’t include having to put up with watching him treat your mother so badly.

Ask for help from other family members or a woman’s center. They can help you get resources to move on with your life. Put your energy into taking care of you first.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My Family Life Is a Mess

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Family Life Is a Mess. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 Jul 2018 (Originally: 2 Aug 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 31 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.