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It's Never Enough

by Christina
(New Jersey, USA)

I am 16. I am the oldest in my family by 8 years, 14.5 years, and 16 years, so there is a lot of pressure for me to help out with the babies. Which I am fine with, but it's my 8 year old sister I bash with too much.

My parents have spoiled her rotten, letting her get away with stealing from me, hitting me, and talking to me as if she is my elder and I MUST show her respect. I am the kind of person to only give respect if I know it will be returned. Not to say I wait for it to be shown to me first.

For example, in school, I have never been in trouble with teachers or students. I know that the teachers would respect me as a person, and so I will have no problem showing and giving respect towards them first. As a matter of fact, some teachers have told me I am their favorite.

My biological mother is a heroin addict who has been in and out of jail my entire life. she was even pregnant with me in jail. The last time I went to visit her was in the summer of 2008 and I saw her through a plate glass and we spoke for 30 minutes through a phone. I don't ever want to have to see her like that again, whether it will be through a plate glass or over a table. I believe I shouldn't have to see the woman who gave birth to me like that or anyone who is supposed to be there for me in general.

She also has an STD which she accidentally passed down to me. I am the only child from her. My father met my stepmother when I was about 2 years old. I grew up enough a few years ago to realize she is my mom for all intents and purposes. In my mind, the title father and dad and mother and mom are completely different terms. Father and mother are two people who come together and give birth to a child. A dad and a mom are people who raised that child, loved them unconditionally, made sure they could have absolutely everything that they could afford, helped them through issues without judging them, etc.

Anyway, skipping ahead, my father has physically abused me. DYFS or CPS (child protective services) has had case after case opened with an abuse case against him. Recently I took my 8 year old sister to the town library and she told me that she would tell my father I was on my facebook account. I got mad that she would be ratting me out just to spite me after I ASKED my parents to LET HER COME WITH ME so she could see her friends at the library. Anyway, I went up to her and lied saying I was showing my friend who was there with me an actress who looked just like me. My sister began to go to hit me and punch me.

My instinctual reaction was to get her to stop, so I grabbed her arms and tried to pin them to her sides to get her to stop. She began kicking me so I made her walk over to a nearby chair to calm her down and she only got worse. So my grip tightened and (I don't remember) but apparently I too became aggressive towards her. She kicked my stomach and out of nowhere finally stopped.

That's when she stopped yelling, kicking, punching...everything. We had to go home in a few minutes anyway so I let her go. Yesterday I get home and evidently the director of the libraries is concerned for my sisters safety.

I have no one in my house that I can vent to because everyone criticizes me and my opinion.

Also, my "family" can always find something to complain about whenever I am asked to do a task.

I have had suicidal thoughts and I tried killing myself by trying to pierce a butcher knife through my stomach. obviously I did not go through with it. My house is unbearable. I have nowhere to go if my parents kick me out (which they have recently told me they will do if I continue acting the way I do). How do I vent? How can I control myself? What is wrong with me?

The name here is an alias. I do not wish to share my actual name.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Christina, and thanks for telling your story here. It is very clear that you're in a tough situation, and I will try to help.

I can tell that you are a very bright girl. You express yourself well, and your thinking makes sense. In addition to the other ways in which you're being abused, I think it's inappropriate for your parents to put you in charge of your sister, particularly in light of how difficult your relationship is. But there may not be anything you can do about that, so I'll suggest some things you can do that will hopefully help you.

You ask "how can I vent?" I suggest you do the anger journaling process described on this page on a daily basis, and some days several times, if needed. This will definitely help you. It gives your anger a "place to go" instead of just staying stuffed inside you until you vent it on someone else.

It is great that you want to learn to vent in healthy ways, and to control your anger. That will keep you from hurting your sister, and it will help you to feel better.

You also ask, "How can I control myself?" Try this positive journaling exercise, to shift your mind from what is wrong in your life to what is good and right and working. Especially focus on the good things about you personally and your life. Appreciate your mind, your health and any abilities and friends you have.

And you asked, "What is wrong with me?" From what you have told me here, I would say there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are having normal emotional responses to being in an abusive environment. Your emotions make sense, but you don't want them doing your thinking and decision making for you. Anger is just not that smart by itself. That is why I want you to write it down, instead of acting it out.

Believe in yourself, Christina (I realize that is an alias...). See the goodness in your heart, and keep your focus there. You can do this. You will not be in this family forever, and you can create a good life for yourself.

Never, ever give up on you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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