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My parents don’t seem to care about my siblings and I

By Aunty Julie

Aunty Julie,

My parents are at the point of divorce. I feel like my family hates one another. My mother and father abuse each other and fight all the time while they mentally abuse me while denying that they do so. I feel like they do know but they still don’t care that they are. What they do to each other and to me and my siblings are damaging our psyche.


I’m sick and tired of not being able to leave the house without feeling bad for something that isn’t my fault. I have no freedom and I’m under so much pressure. I was pressured into getting a job at 19 while I school, and now my parents complain that I have a job, and want me to quit. I only work at weekends.

My dad has been complaining about my weight, telling me to lose weight. My mum assumes the most ridiculous things ever, making me go insane because she is making these ridiculous assumptions that make me want to scream.

Six months ago, I fell in love with my ‘true love’ and we’re still going strong. I know that he is there for me whenever but I still don’t want to stress him about this because it makes him depressed. My parents don’t know what they’re doing to me. They think it’s fine to call me names, trap me in the house, and not socialise whatsoever.

They hate all my friends and say horrible things about them. They follow me around when I’m at school or when I’m at my work. I’ve had to lie to them a couple of times saying I was at work, just so I could go and be with my friends and boyfriend, which I know is wrong but there’s no other way for me to have a social life if I don’t do this.

My parents are forcing me to always be in the house at weekends looking after my youngest brother, and help clean the house. I’m afraid to ask my dad for money because I know I would get a 40 minute lecture on how much of a bad daughter I am for asking him. My parents have said things to me like “you’re not my daughter” or “you’re the worst daughter ever in history”.

I do well in school, I respect my elders and I try my best to live up to my parents’ expectations but still it’s never good enough. I can’t smile at home anymore. I’ve been tempted to run away a few times but pulled through because I know how hurt they would be.

After all I’m being put through, I still think about them. I love my parents, so much! But I just wish that I would be respected and appreciated for who I am. I’m not asking for material things, I’m simply asking for love, and freedom and happiness.

I’m sure that isn’t too hard. Everyone always tells me that I don’t deserve this whatsoever. I don’t think anyone does. I try to be honest as I can and yes, I’ve made mistakes but they don’t know how to accept that no one’s perfect, especially children who go through this.

I’m trying my best to pull through for my brothers and myself. But it’s too hard. My parents always twist my words on me and say that I said something when I really didn’t. They feel satisfied when I’m hurt.

They are always complaining about their jobs and how much they work. They call me names and make me feel like shit. They lie to me and have hit me several times. They say that their anger is because of me, and only me. They are all about the “do as I say because I said so and I don’t care what you say” and “I’m your parent so what I say goes, like it or not”.

They also go around asking people about my friends, investigating if they are good people or not and also trying to creep on their Facebook accounts.

I’ve let my parents know how I feel, but they don’t care. I don’t want to leave my house. I love them so much. I just want to be loved, respected, appreciated and happy. I need more freedom. I want to feel table at home again. I want to smile for real. I want to not be paranoid thinking my parents are following me around.

Tracy, Abuja

Dear Tracy,

There sure is a lot of stuff happening for you right now. You said your parents are at the point of divorce. That must be really tough on all of you at home. I am sorry to hear you are feeling verbally and mentally abused by your parents. No matter how much stress they are under, calling you names and bullying you is not acceptable.

On the positive side, it’s awesome to hear you are getting good grades, pull your weight around the house, you have a job and you have a supportive boyfriend who you are in love with. I’m sure it must be frustrating though to not feel appreciated and loved by your mum and dad.

Do you have extended family you can get some support from?

You say you don’t want to leave home which shows a great commitment to making things work at home with your parents, and I’m sure you want to be there and be a good role model for your younger brothers too. Are there any services near you that offer mediation between young people and their parents?

Do you have elders or pastors or priests you can trust to talk to your parents about your situation? If it looks like your parents are going to split up, you really have to get the extended family and your priests involved. Take care and take things easy.

Am I feeling depressed?

Dear Aunty Julie,

I’m a young man in my mid 20s. I’ve had depression and many other things since I was a kid. I’ve had my heart broken so many times and I don’t know who I can trust anymore. People and friends have disappointed me.

I’m not motivated to do anything and I never seem to be happy. I don’t know what to do with my life. I’m not doing good in school at all and I just want to die.

What do I do or what can I do?

Oluwafemi, Edo

Dear Oluwafemi,

It sounds like you had to deal with a lot of disappointments and problems. You’ve mentioned having had depression among other things since you were younger. Has something happened recently that’s caused you to feel even worse than usual?

Depression is more than just feeling sad; it’s a serious condition that interferes with a person’s life. You’ve described not having the motivation to do things, not enjoying anything, feeling that life isn’t worth living. These are things that can occur in depression.

Depression can also be caused by many different things, like a very stressful experience, or difficulties with relationships and living that seem to be getting worse. You mentioned that you’ve had your heart broken many times, that’s certainly a major blow to anyone’s confidence.

Some people are more vulnerable to depression than others, but it can happen to anyone. Depression is treatable though and the most important thing is not to keep it inside without talking about it.

You’ve said that you have thoughts of wanting to die. These experiences can be quite frightening and often happen when people find themselves in difficult situations where they have no idea what to do. So it’s not surprising that these thoughts can come up when someone is depressed, but go away when people feel better. It’s also a sign that you should get some help.

You need to get help by way of counseling or medications that help with the symptoms of depression. You need to see a doctor or a professional for counselling.

Depression can be very hard to cope with, and it’s not something you get overnight. So although it can take some time for people to get better, the important thing is not to get discouraged and to get proper support.


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