From a 17 year old in Canada: I have four friends. We used to be really good friends, but even then, I was constantly left out since two of them were best friends, the other two were best friends, and I was the extra. Lately, they’ve been starting to think I’m annoying. They constantly talk in a group chat without me. They’ve made so many plans without me. At school, they still talk to me and endure me.
I haven’t done a single thing to them. I’m endlessly loyal to them, and whenever they’re upset, I’m the friend they turn to. I now realize I never got that treatment in return. I haven’t done anything to them, I’m positive, but they still think I’m annoying and are growing tired of me.
Next, my family. My mother is constantly criticizing me and comparing me to other kids. When talking to other parents, they all praise their children, while my mom just says, “Oh, she never eats anything. She’s so picky. No wonder she’s so short.” or “My daughter never helps around the house (that’s a lie, I always ask and she always says she doesn’t need help). She’s so lazy, does nothing but sit around and watch TV all day.”
She tells me I’m worthless, calls me rude, she’s even kicked me out of the house. She gets furious with me for the smallest things – I forgot to make my bed one day, I’m arguing with my brother, I accidentally left the light switch on. My dad is always disappointed with me. Nothing I do is ever good enough for him. My brother? He hates me. Absolutely hates me. Calls me names, punches me, insults me, bullies me in front of his friends and my “friends.” He calls me pathetic when I cry and when he found out I self harmed, he laughed at me and told me I may as well kill myself. I haven’t done anything to him, except for arguments that he always provokes. Why is everyone always so mean to me, and why does nobody care about me? It hurts so much.
This sounds terrible. You seem to be surrounded by toxic people who hurt you and use you. Sadly, not everyone gets the family they deserve. Also sadly, a person who is used to being put down often finds “friends” who continue the negativity. One of my teachers used to caution us never to underestimate the pull of the familiar.
The good news is that you are 17. You’ve written a thoughtful and reflective letter. That shows me that you have it in you to discontinue the trajectory of life you’ve been on. You can make new choices.
I suggest you start separating from this friend group and make yourself available to people who will give as well as take, who will see you for the interesting person you are and who will be there for you.
The best way to do this is to identify an activity that truly interests you and get involved. Like attracts like. People who like the same things are often interested in knowing each other. Don’t be concerned, at first, with making friends. Just throw yourself into the activity or cause and be your best self. Friendships will naturally evolve.
Meanwhile, spend less time at home. Go to a library or stay after school during the afternoons. Work hard on your grades. Talk to your school counselor about whether you qualify for a scholarship to college. Round out your resume by doing some volunteer work or getting a part time job for work experience.
In another year, you could go off to school and make a new start. If you aren’t interested in more school, start looking for job or volunteer opportunities that will take you out of your town and into new experiences with new people.
I wish you well.