New Family Members
I'm 13-years-old and my mom and dad are adopting my cousins. My cousin that is my age is in my grade, we are on the same sports teams and we are in band together.
Every time she talks to me, it's like she's talking like she's better than me and it makes me angry. It has gotten so bad that if she looks at me, I start screaming at her.
I have been taking my anger out on the wall by punching it. I feel like I have anger against my Mom too. I have been blowing up at her and telling her that I hate her. I need some help.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Monica, and thanks for telling your story here. It sounds like there's a lot going on in your life. The kind of adoption you're talking about is a big deal for everyone. Your cousin probably feels inferior to you, because you have your parents and she doesn't. Your anger toward her is understandable, but you want to be smart with how you express yourself.
Try the tools described on this FAQ page, and I think that will help you with your anger. In the journaling part of those exercises, you will find that you're probably angry that your cousins were brought into your family, taking up time and attention and perhaps other resources that would otherwise be yours.
I'm going to make a radical suggestion. Feel free to ignore it. Or, if you think you can do it, give it a try.
Make up your mind to tell your cousin what you like about her every day. Complement her on how she looks, and everything positive that she does. Tell her you're glad she's a part of your family. I know this might feel like lying, but if you can do it with any truthfulness at all, it will help.
Do as many nice things for her as you can. This might help right away, or things might get worse before they get better. It's a good plan, no matter what, and it will help you to not be so angry.
You're a good person, and so is your cousin.
You can do this, Monica. Believe in the goodness in your heart, and act on it.
My very best to you,
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