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How Do I Handle Family Mistreatment?

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From a teen in Canada: I am, and have been mistreated in my home and I feel like I can not handle it anymore. I grew up with a very predominant speech impediment and I struggle to speak some words in my native language and no one in my family passes up the opportunity to pick at my ill speech and am usually the butt of the joke.

My earliest memories of my mother are of her telling me that every bad thing that has ever happened to her is because of me. I lied a lot when I was younger. I never told my parents what was wrong because my dad was working and I felt that I couldn’t talk to my mother because I found her frightening.

My parents accuse me of doing things I didn’t do. My mom twists the truth and makes me the liar every time. I do all the work of the household, I do everyone’s laundry, the dishes, cleaning of the house top to bottom all by myself, and am in charge of meals.

My brother used to help out and he always used to get so much praise for what he did. And at his height of doing household chores he never did nearly enough as i do. My sister does absolutely nothing and she could literally put her shoes away and she’ll be getting praised for that. I now do everything by myself with no help and the only time anyone says anything is if I forgot to do something and I usually get yelled at or even beaten.

I self-harm and am extremely suicidal. My parents actions have given me panic attacks and I get them at school as well. I don’t get why I am treated so differently from my siblings and am not sure how long I hold out in this hell hole.

How Do I Handle Family Mistreatment?

Answered by on -


No kid deserves to be abused and beaten. No kid deserves to be afraid in her own household. That has to stop. You do need to talk to your school counselor about what is going on to get some help for you and for the family.

It’s sad but true that not everyone gets the parents they deserve. From what you wrote, you are doing everything in your power to win the respect, love and approval of parents who aren’t willing or able to see you for the fine person you are. I worry that you are now self-harming — adding self-injury to the many injuries you suffer from your family. You don’t deserve that either.

Often, when parents are like this, there is a hidden but powerful reason for their behavior. Sometimes the child reminds them of someone who hurt them. Sometimes there is a secret around the child’s birth. Sometimes the child is a scapegoat, the focus of everyone’s anger and frustrations. Without talking to your folks in depth, I can’t venture what is going on here. Whatever the reason, though, it doesn’t excuse mistreatment. Therapy would help surface the reasons and give everyone support for change.

I wonder if you’ve been able to ask them why you can’t seem to please them. If you go to them with anger and accusations and blame, you will only invite more mistreatment. If you can talk to your parents from a calm and centered place, you may be able to find out more about why they expect so much and yet return so little.

In the meantime, you are only a couple of years away from graduation and being on your own.  Start planning now for your future. Do well in school. Talk to your counselor about how to apply for scholarships so you can go away to college. If you don’t see academics in your future, figure out how you can get the training you need to do a job you think you will like. Undecided? Then look into gap year programs. You can do some good in the world while gaining some experience in work you love.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Handle Family Mistreatment?

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. (2019). How Do I Handle Family Mistreatment?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Oct 2019 (Originally: 27 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 Oct 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.