May 11, 2012 - submitted by A, United States of America

This is from a 15 year old girl who is really fed up with this situation.
A few months ago my dad was having an affair. I knew it was going on as I had read some emails behind his back. Doing this I felt guilty for not doing telling my mom but at the same time I felt it was between them and I shouldn't get in the way of it. My mom found out but did not mention any of it to me. Honestly I thought they would separate but they didn't. Fast forward to a few months later and here I am in this hell hole. They are always fighting and I don't really know what to do. Usually I just go to my room and listen to loud music. I can still hear them and it p****s me off that I cannot do anything. I think in their eyes I am a clueless girl who is completely oblivious to everything going on in this house.
To make things worse, my 17 year old brother was recently caught stealing which just made me lose respect for him and quite honestly my whole family.
There are other things going on at school so it's like I don't belong anywhere. I can't remember the last time I was happy about anything, and because of this my grades have been going down. I have no close friends I can talk to and at school I've already broken down in front of two teachers because the simplest smallest things set off these angry emotions I've had bottled inside me. I hate going to school and failing at everything I do and looking at all these happy people that I am invisible to. I cry myself to sleep every night but I don't know why and it's so damn frustrating. I just don't know why I feel this way, why I'm angry, why I feel guilty about all this going on with my stupid dysfunctional family. I'm sorry if this does not make any sense at all but I just needed to let everything out. I'm not even sure what I'm asking.
Thank You for listening to me because I know no one else would.

The Oracle replies:

I'd like to think that there are more people out there who would listen to you & I'll begin by suggesting you start with your parents and then teachers. You need the support and understanding of both.
It may be that you would benefit from counselling also, so perhaps school can help with that or your family doctor. I think a talking therapy would really help much like getting things off your chest here hopefully has in some way.
I do think that reading your Dad's private emails was a bad idea and you're right, it is between them so try not to do any more snooping ok?
It's hard when to see your parents fight as you can get caught in the middle. You have to remember they don't really have to tell you what is going on in their lives. I know that's harsh but that doesn't mean I don't think you have a right to voice your concerns, as you do but it may not change a thing so be prepared for that too.
If I were you I would choose a quiet moment at home and tell them how their fighting is affecting you or write it in a letter. Try not to take sides, or judge, or point a finger of blame, just talk about YOU.
Given how you're feeling about the situation, I think you need to cut your brother some slack. His stealing is more than likely to be a direct reaction to how he's feeling about things. Maybe you and he could approach your parents together?
His stealing is a problem that needs sorting but that's for your parents to deal with - not you.
Perhaps you could confide in a priest if you have one or a family member.
You need to let the anger out in a safe way and attempt some management skills before it gets out of hand.
Sometimes parents stay together for their children not realizing the children would prefer them to split up but whatever their reasons, it's making you so unhappy and for that, they need to listen to your needs. Trust me, you will be ok if you don't face this alone. You will not be alone in how you are feeling so sharing it here was a great first step.
Over to you.

This may sound trite, but you just need to talk to them. I understand that it will be difficult, but getting this out in the open will make you (and probably everyone else involved) feel SO much better. A huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders. Granted the conversation may not resolve all of the issues, but at least it is a starting point in a healthier direction. If you can't find a way to start the conversation, it might just be easier to simply get them in front of a computer and show them the link to your question here. Sure it will be a bit awkward, but you stated your concerns rather succinctly in a way that you might not be able to during the conversation (due to the emotions that might get in the way of your train of thought). Best Wishes, Carrie.

It is difficult to comprehend what our parents do, specially why they do it. I cannot advise anything at all for your situation, but what I can do is share something similar that happened to me: I was seven years old when I caught my mom cheating on my dad, not just once but many. As I grew up I developed angry and hate for everything and everybody that surrounded me, specially my mom. We would fight a lot, and I felt so lonely that anything would make any sense at all. It was very hard for me to understand why all of this was happened to me. Today they are divorced. I am 24 years old now. What happened to me was that I understood several things: first of all I realized that I was nobody to judge anybody, specially my parents. I forgave them, and let them solve their own issues in their own way (at 15 I had my own thins to deal with, like school for example) no that I did not care, I always tried to let them know how much I loved them, but I had to keep moving in life. Another thing I learned was that thanks to all the things they did, I was able to take that knowledge and avoid making the same mistakes they did, and use the good and positive things to live my life. Be kind and love yourself, you are important too! Blessings, Mayra, Canada.

I saw your message, and I would like to tell you, firstly: don't give up. Never. When I was your age (now I'm 17) I used to think that I would never have friends. I couldn't see any solution, I saw people with their friends, laughing and sharing secrets, and I thought: Why am I alone? Why don't people like me? So, one day, my parents brought me to a psychologist, and I can still remember what she simply told me: "make a hollow in your heart to all the friends that you will have, and wait for them". Then, a year later, they have come, I can count them with the fingers of my hands, but they are with me.

So, wait, like we say in Spain "El tiempo pone a cada uno en su lugar" (something like: "The time puts everyone in their place"). Wait and listen to Coldplay, when I'm sad I listen to their songs and I feel better. So make yourself feel better. Don't forget that there will always someone that loves you, and I'm sure your parents are in that group. Even they discuss, as you said, that it something between them, it doesn't mean that their relationship with you will change.
I don't know if this has helped you, but I only wanted to send you a hopeful transmission, so that you will know that in Spain there is someone who understands you and wants you to feel better. Anemiren.

I can tell you from experience that one of the hardest things in life is being let down by those we trust. It feels like you have nowhere to turn, no one to go to. You just want run away and it seems like everything in your life is pointless because everything has come crashing down into ashes, but take it from somebody who's gone through this and come out on the other side: as long as there's life, there's hope. You're already strong and brave. Keep persevering, keep trying, don't give up, and even though you feel alone, you're not. Only a few years and you'll be able to get away and make your own life, learning from your family's mistakes. You've done the hardest part already: getting it all out to somebody, and people who care have listened and are here to help. I'll end with a quote from Winston Churchill: "if you're going through hell, keep going." I promise you'll come out all the wiser.
All the best, Joe, USA.

You don't have to feel so alone in this situation. About your brother, there is a possibility that he gets what you're parents are going through, and he desperately wanted an outlet for his feelings that may be bottled up inside him, like yours. As for your parents, the only thing that I can say is that communication is the key to all good relationships. Try approaching your mother and open up to her, she will listen to you because she loves you. Don't keep it all to yourself because it will, and it had, affected every aspect if your life. Your family is in turmoil, and if they're to caught up w their problems, sum up the courage and strive to be the one to be strong for your family. They need that guidance, and I believe you are what they've been seeking. Keep your focus on your life-long goes and a new one, and that is to keep your family together. And, as a Coldplay song goes, "don't let it break your heart". Alecs, Philippines.

I want you to know that you are not alone. I am a 14yr old girl. My parents violently fight and my brother has already broken under the pressure and has started smoking marijuana. You need to stand up and show that you are stronger than your family. Don't give in to crime because your family is fighting. Accept what's happening, and not let it get in the way of you living your life. It's not your fault, so don't sit at night worrying about it. Also, don't think about the problem in school, get good friends who will help you laugh and be happy. And if you ever feel that your emotions become too much, let it out by doing something you enjoy, for instance I love songwriting. I get As and A*s in my work, I never cry and I always have a good time despite what my family is going through.
In Conclusion, Remember...
1. Don't let your emotion overcome you.
2. Don't give in to crime because you are upset.
3. Be happy and have fun in school (Don't think about your parents).
4. Remember that you are not alone, and there are many people in the same situation that will help you.
5. If Your feelings are bottled up, try writing a song, poem, or try painting to express your feelings in a peaceful way.
6. Put Don't Let It Break Your Heart and Everything's Not Lost on replay.
Lots of UK Love, Romy xxx

You don't have to feel so lonely any more, I know what are you feeling!
In these last two years my life have been such a mess that some of my problems are the same as yours. You don't have to feel guilty, nothing of this is your fault, you are just the victim.
Have you tried to talk to your mother or father yet? It may make them know how you feel.
Your bad grades may be the result of everything you have been passing through, so try to talk to the teachers that you are having some family problems, ask for some help in the subjects you have difficulty.
The things must be hard for your parents too, try to talk to them to make sure what they are feeling, it can help you to know what are their intentions.
In relation of your brother talk to him too, you both can be feeling the same thing and you find someone in who you can trust in. Ask him why did he steal, it may be for asking attention through all these mess.
I hope this help you in some way. Best wishes, V.

I am very sorry about everything. While it seems like right now you'll feel this way forever, I can promise you that you won't. What I think you should to first of all is talk to your parents. From the way you described it, they don't seem happy and neither do you. Maybe they're so caught up in the fighting that they can't see how much they're hurting their children. That can be the reason why your brother did what he did - it's a probably his way of acting out, of trying get the attention of your parents. And frankly, he's not entirely to blame. Some people don't know how to handle it, so they end up doing stupid things. Don't give up on him. Stealing is wrong and shouldn't be justified in anyway, but he is your brother after all. Give him another chance, try and seek comfort in each other. As for feeling like you don't belong, you absolutely do! You just haven't found out where yet. Take everything one step at a time. Start by talking to your parents, then your brother and go from there. The answers will come to you, in one way or another. It's important to always have faith in people and most importantly, it's important to always have faith in yourself. I wish you all the best. Sincerely, Medina.

I know why you're angry. You've been through a lot, this whole mess with your parents and your brother. You must feel like your head is about to fall off some days. Growing up is hard for everyone, but you've been set a lot of extra challenges, and it's even worse when they're at home, because you feel like you can't escape from anything. It hurts really deep when family situations go bad, it hurts for everyone - don't feel guilty for your suffering.
Please, if you believe nothing else I say, hear this: You are not a failure. You are valuable and worthy of love.
I can tell you two things that might make you feel better. First, it will pass. You won't always be defined by a messed up family situation. Second, try to reach out to people. I'm sure it's the last thing you want to do, because when I feel sad, I always want people to reach out to me but honestly, most of us don't know how to respond to a need until it's articulated. Your teachers, if they are good teachers, will want to help you get your grades up if you want to, too. Try talking to some kids in your classes and see if any friendships form. It's ok to tell people about your struggles - you'd be surprised to learn how many people have similar stories.
And, if it makes you feel any better, I've been in a similar situation myself. Amber.

I have no idea why I am writing this, just as you had no idea why you wrote to the Oracle. I'm not even a regular user, but I saw your message and felt compelled to write something.
First of all - you have no reason to feel guilty about not exposing the affair: that is not your responsibility, and you should not feel guilty about that. It was always going to come out, and perhaps it would have only been worse for you if you had aired it yourself.
Secondly, as for your brother - we don't get to pick our family. Think, however, before you harshly judge him, he is only reacting to this situation, the same as you; but he reacts differently. I can't say how I would react in his place, nor could anyway. You are not obligated to love him, and are free to think worse of him simply take a moment to consider.
Finally a parting word, just know that all of this will pass. You will have a long life, of many years. You will one day meet the perfect man of your dreams, and you will go away and live your own life, and have children of your own and dogs, and you will know love and joy - all of what you are experiencing now will pass; it is only a matter of time.
From a random stranger you will never know, you are stronger than you know. The Privateer.

I do quite understand why you are so confused - you have really had a rough time and it's indeed lovely to see that you are, in some way at least, letting some of your thoughts out. I think you need someone to talk to about it - anybody. The trouble you are going through is not your fault.
If you are able to talk with somebody about your problems, you might get to think through, why you feel the way you do - that is good.
Maybe you actually just need some friends, and that problem is quite simple to solve.
I don't know much about USA - it's quite far away from Denmark but I do know that we, in Denmark, have a hotline for people below 18 with any kind of trouble, and those people are eager to help.
I don't think you should blame your brother that hard. He has obviously done something quite stupid. However, remember that he might regret it - how would you feel if you had been caught stealing, knowing that your family was informed about the incident? And just to repeat myself - you need somebody, who wants to carry some your ballast. Sincerely, a 17 year old guy, Denmark.

I believe that when going through hard times, it is really easy to fall down and feel like giving it all up. That's when you have to stay strong the most, because you deserve it. You were born to be happy, and if right now the circumstances are not the most convenient then you have to tackle all this and create a safe atmosphere for yourself.
What I mean is, keep on doing worthwhile things for yourself. Prove yourself and the rest that in spite of all the troubles you may be surrounded by you can still break through and achieve those things you want. Try to aim higher, to break the routine and try to change little by little the things you would like to change about your very self.
Life's now, today, don't wait for the future to come. The change has to start today.
If you don't feel very comfortable at home, look for parks, public libraries, cafes, museums... investigate the world. Carry with you the things you like such as books, magazines, music... there's so much more out of life than staying in the comfort of things we already know. Are you religious? Go to church, pray at night. Hire movies which you think will inspire you. (The French ones always work for me.)
What I'm trying to say by all these things is:
Once you feel comfortable with yourself, you'll be ready to make new friends at school. Once you like yourself, you'll be ready to cope with life. And perhaps help your brother out of his problem and also understand your parents better.
I'm not telling you to be self-centered, but for now try to take care of yourself. So at least you feel proud of your actions despite the things which doesn't directly concern you. Love, Caro.

Life can be harsh sometimes, and you're being exposed to that in a very young age. I was put in situations similar to this when I was younger, and safe. Parents constantly fighting... Sometimes I got involved, and sometimes I just stayed on the sidelines. But growing up, I learned that I'd much rather spend my time being happy, and the mask of "happiness" that I wore to school became true happiness. You'll feel like the whole is out to get you, and it's easy to get depressed in situations, but if you find an outlet, something that makes you happy, then you can use that as a crutch to get through the hard times. My outlet was music. Whenever life was being rough to me, I'd just set my ipod to something happy, to cheer me up, and it took me away from all of my problems, to somewhere better. If you find something like this, then it may not get rid of all of your troubles, but it will help you get to a time where your problems will be a thing of the past.
All the best! Bradley H.

I'm really sorry about what you're going through. It might be hard to understand why your parents haven't talked to you about what's going on, but if you try to look at the situation from their view, it's understandable. They might not want you to worry or feel as down as you do now. However, that doesn't make it okay or excuse the way they've refused to deal with something that doesn't only affect them, but their kids too. I think you should really try to communicate with them. Tell them that you know, and how horrible it's made you feel. Same thing goes for your brother. It's amazing how much a simple, but honest, conversation can make you feel better when you have so much on your mind. You don't mention if your brother knows about everything, but I'm going to assume he does. He might feel just as confused and troubled as you, which might be the cause of him acting out, so again, talking would be very helpful. I can relate to how vulnerable you might feel as I've recently had similar experiences at school. I think mostly we just need to cut out all the bad things in our lives, and decide on wanting to feel better. Taking small steps towards healing relationships and in turn, ourselves. The relationship between your parents shouldn't change the relationship between them and you, so please don't feel guilty. This is absolutely NOT your fault. I know sometimes people don't like to bring things up, and hope that it makes it less of a big deal, but it's not okay, at all. It doesn't help, it makes it worse, I'm sure you know. So tell them, remind them they have a daughter that needs them. I really hope your home can be more of a comfort to you. Love, Darem.

Everyone here cares about you and your well-being and wants to help. We are listening. Don't think you are alone. Judging from the length and detail of your question, I would guess you are tired of carrying this burden alone and just need someone to listen. Considering you don't feel comfortable talking to friends and you don't think much of your brother at the moment, my suggestion for you is to discuss your situation with a school counselor. They will be able to help you through, even if it's just listening to what you have to say. When nothing's really making any sense at all, talk. Telling someone who will hear you out is often the best way in dealing with stress, as I'm sure you know since you wrote in for us to listen. And I'm also sure you felt loads better afterwards! Even keeping a diary for yourself to read privately will allow you to express your feelings rather than keeping them bottled up. Warm regards, Blake.

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