Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Hi! Strange that my question is this, but I really need an answer. Am I overreacting or experiencing abuse? My parents are divorced, and I live with my mom and grandparents. I suffer from social anxiety and major depression, which have been diagnosed by a psychologist, but my mom says that “We’ll fix everything by ourselves.” My grandmother usually yells at me for no reasons, makes me feel useless. Let’s just say that I am even afraid to ask her a question, somsetimes. When she’s angry, she releases all of her anger on me. My mom is just as mean as my grandma, but she also makes me feel stupid (example, if I made a mistake, she treats me like I am a baby who still needs to learn what’s life like and makes those high voices you usually use with babies). There aren’t any physical actions, though. I think everything is based on my psycho-side. I don’t want to bore you saying all of my problems and telling you “hOw mUcH I HaTe mY lIfE oH mY gOD sEnD AtTenTiOn”, but I just gave you a general (and not detailed) situation of my family right now. I think I am suffering from abuse not because they yelled at me once, or didn’t buy me something, et cetera, but because I don’t even feel loved by my family, the one who should always be with you, right? So, after all of this, (if you want some other information, ask me): am I abused?
Kind querent: You’ve got some unhealthy family dynamics going on, and your mom and grandma sound rigid and controlling. With the unhealthy dynamics, this means there are interactions between you and your mom and grandmother that are consistently unhelpful and stressful. What I’d like for you to do is tell another adult about it. It can be the psychologist who diagnosed you, or your school guidance counselor. I’m hoping that adult would recommend some family therapy to your mom and grandma. It sounds like you all need to attend some family therapy, and/or some individual therapy with the goal of being able to get along and interact better. I’m glad your household isn’t violent.
Another course of action that you could look into (and your psychologist and/or guidance counselor could help with this, too) would be to move in with your dad. He might be a better fit for you. And take it from someone who’s been there–if your dad’s calmer and more composed, then he’s the better parent to live with.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Whenever I have free time, I feel guilty and lost, because I’m afraid of wasting my time. I am currently a business university sophomore, and I don’t know what I’ll do after graduation. I know that I don’t want to work in an accounting, finance department. I don’t have any plans or passion for building my own business. I want to change my major but it has already been two years, so my parents are telling me to graduate first and then do something that I like or study for a major I like. I like editing videos and posting it on youtube, I like writing poems on my journal, I like going to the gym, I like rap music and writing song lyrics. These are my hobbies but I don’t know how I can make money out of it and most importantly, how to make friends that have similar interests with me. My mental illness is mostly because I am lonely. I live with my parents, I don’t have any brothers or sisters and I have few friends (3 or 4 and we meet mostly at uni). I just can’t accept myself as I am, because I think I’m boring and quiet. Basically, I am bored of myself and I feel harder everyday to motivate myself to do things.
Kind querent: This is a tough issue with regard to your career ambitions. I’d urge you to meet with your college’s career counselors, who can talk with you to develop a career path. Business is a good major, but it’s anyone’s guess if there’d be a better major for you at this point. Could you minor in something creative, like art or music or drama? Just for fun? And it’s not too late to change your major. With a few extra summer classes, you might be able to change it and still graduate on time (if that’s important to you). Also, have you considered starting a business that includes your creative hobbies? That would be fun and productive. I just have to warn you, though, that it might not pay well. On the other hand, you’re majoring in business, so who knows? But not every business has to be boring-boring-boring blah-blah-blah. You could start a fun business, like a wall-climbing gym or an art gallery or a kitty cafe. There are so many fun ideas, you could do anything! Why not think about it? Be creative and keep an open mind!