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My Mother Won’t Let Me See a Counselor

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From a teen in the U.S.: I’m a junior (17 year old) in high school who has been dealing with some mental issues for a very long time.

My father abused my sister and I until I was 11, which is when my mother got full custody of the both of us. After that, I started to get very anxious and jumpy, and I would have flashbacks that would send me into tears. In the 8th grade, I started to get suicidal and I felt worthless and hopeless. Nowadays the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness have gotten worse, the flashbacks are happening more and more, and I’ve started to have deep feelings of hatred and guilt towards myself. There’s weeks where I don’t talk to anyone and I keep to myself in my room, because I’m too upset to talk to someone.

In the 9th grade, I was hospitalized because of a suicide attempt, which led my mom to try to take me into counseling. After one session, she stopped taking me, because she didn’t like the therapist. I’ve tried to get her to let me see someone, and she doesn’t listen.

About a month ago, I told her everything, how I’ve been feeling, and how long I’ve been feeling this way. She agreed to get me an appointment with a psychiatrist. Well, recently it’s been revealed that we both share different religious views (she’s a hardcore Christian, and I’m an atheist). Her boyfriend overheard our debate we were having about God, and he told my mother that he doesn’t believe in psychiatrists. She immediately took his side, and now she won’t allow me to see anybody.
I feel horrible because of this, and I have no idea on what to do now.

My Mother Won’t Let Me See a Counselor

Answered by on -

A.

It is not at all unusual for someone who has been abused to feel as you do. With support and time, you can learn to manage your feelings about what happened to you and have a much happier life. However, most people do need that professional support.

Sometimes parents want to believe that leaving the abuser fixes everything. It is too painful for them to face that the children may have lasting effects from the abuse. Sometimes they have unresolved guilt that their kids were abused and they didn’t know. That doesn’t make it okay that your mom refuses to get you into treatment. But maybe it helps you have a little compassion for her.

I’m very sorry that the therapist somehow offended your mother. Please tell her that all therapists are not alike and that often people need to try out a few different therapists before they find the professional they feel they can trust.

Since your mother is influenced by her boyfriend, a place to start in this situation might be to ask to see a Christian therapist. The boyfriend may be more willing to support you getting into treatment, if he doesn’t feel like his beliefs will be challenged. Yes, I know you are an atheist but you don’t have to share the beliefs of a counselor to benefit from their treatment. Counseling isn’t about a religious debate. A good therapist won’t try to push their beliefs on you but will be more concerned with how to help you recover in a way that works for you. Once you feel better, you may be able to transfer to a therapist with more compatible beliefs if you still feel that it is necessary.

In the meantime, please consider joining one of the forums here at PsychCentral for some support from others who share your experience. You might also talk to your school counselor about whether there is a free teen support group in your area that would be helpful.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

My Mother Won’t Let Me See a Counselor

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). My Mother Won’t Let Me See a Counselor. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/12/18/my-mother-wont-let-me-see-a-counselor/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Dec 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Dec 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.