Dear Annie: Never good enough for Mom and Dad
Dear Annie: My parents don’t care about whether I’m happy; they only care about whether I’m successful. That basically says it all. They always complain about my grades and compare me with the other kids, talking about how jealous they are that the other parents have honor-roll kids they can brag about. And even though my grades have been mostly bad, I do occasionally do well, but they have very rarely told me that they are proud of me — especially my dad. I don’t think I have ever heard him say the word proud in any context.
And that’s not just true with respect to my classes. I’m also in the school band, on the football team and a Boy Scout, and they refuse to acknowledge my accomplishments in any field. I understand that as a sophomore in high school, I need to prepare for my future, but it’s as if that’s all they care about, and they don’t care at all about how I feel. I’ve started to have frequent suicidal thoughts because of it. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Any advice you could give me on how to talk to them about this would be appreciated. — Not Good Enough
Dear Not: I’m proud of you for taking the time to write and ask for help. Whatever you do, do not hurt yourself. Please discuss the thoughts you’re having with your parents, a guidance counselor or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (which offers totally confidential support). If you ever feel as if you’re a serious danger to yourself, dial 911.
Your parents seem to have their priorities out of order, but that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or that they don’t love you. I’m sure that they really believe the pressure they’re piling on is ultimately in your best interest and will motivate you to do better. Their idea of success may always be different from yours, but there are ways (especially once you’re older and out of the house) you can make peace with that. Life is much bigger than it looks right now.
Dear Annie: After reading the letter from “Brokenhearted Mom” — who followed her adult child to a new city, only to be left out in the cold and dumped on — I was heartbroken for her. This woman’s children should be ashamed of themselves!
You only get one mom, and when she’s gone, that kind of unconditional love will be gone, as well. You just can’t replace her. If she lives anywhere near me, I would be delighted to come over on a weekend and put together her furniture. I can just hear my mom saying it’s just the right thing to do. I lost her six years ago. My mother never met a stranger. If this woman is nearby, I would really be willing to help her. I live in Louisville, Kentucky.— Missing Mom
Dear Missing: Thank you for your sweet and concerned letter. Unfortunately, I don’t think “Brokenhearted Mom” is anywhere near Louisville, but I’ve passed your note along so she knows that others are thinking of her. Please keep sharing your generous heart with the world.
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