Hi, I’m fifteen years old. I have been thinking to do this for some time but never had the courage so here goes; for the past time I have been feeling so unloved and worthless. I have many friends that are caring so this isn’t the problem but it’s all starting to build up. My parents are very criticizing of me and for every mistake I do there are massive consequences. I know they love me alot but it’s still hard. I do very well in school, I get high distinctions, and because my parents work full time I do a lot around the house, including vacuuming, kitchen, dusting etc every week. They say thank you every now and then but I just feel a tad unappreciated. I forgot to do a few things around the house that they asked me to do which I recognized was purely my fault but I have been ‘caged’ for a month in which I cannot go out AT ALL. For me, I felt this was extremely harsh, given everything else I do. I have a fair social life with many school friends, but all I do with them in the school term is go into town friday after school and now I cant even do that. I have been fighting a lot with my parents and the things they say when I make one small mistake absolutely ruins me and I find myself feeling worthless and unappreciated beyond what I can say. I begin to feel ugly and stupid and I drive myself in my school work even more and I am on a strict diet and exercise program so that I can just feel pretty so that someone might actually build me up. As an INFJ, i know I react poorly to critism and I am prone to depression but I don’t know how to stop this. When my friends talk about their parents, I feel so jealous and bitter. I find myself wanting to leave for school and not wanting to come back. I long for when I am old enough to build a life in which I can build myself up. This may not sound like much but I feel so depressed and I try, I really do, I just don’t know why I don’t get things in return. Why do they punish me like this? I just want to feel loved. (age 15, from Australia)
I’m sorry that you are feeling unappreciated and overly criticized by your parents, but please don’t let this make you feel worthless and unloved. Some parents are stricter than others, expecting more from their children and giving harsher punishments, but that does not mean that they don’t love you. It most likely means the opposite.
It is normal to compare ourselves and our situation to our peers, but it usually isn’t helpful. It may be more helpful to speak directly to your parents about how you are feeling. Ask to speak to them when you are not in trouble and no one is upset so that they will be more likely to listen to what you are saying versus think you are trying to get out of a consequence. Do you have an older sibling or another family member, such as an aunt or grandparent, whom you can confide in but who might also be willing to play the mediator when you speak to your parents about your concerns? If not, you could speak to your school counselor or request to see a family therapist.
The teenage years can be a difficult time for many reasons, but it can also be a wonderful time of life. Do your best to focus on your strengths, what is going right in your life, your school work, your friends, and your hobbies. The more you focus on the positives, you will have more ability to cope with the negatives, and in a few short years you will be able to be on your own.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts