October 4, 2013 - submitted by Alexandra, Australia

Ever since my father died, my life has been going pear-shaped. I hardly never smile anymore, my mother is always violent and aggressive. I always feel anxious and scared - like something bad is going to happen.
I don't know what to do anymore, Oracle. It just seems like everyday is the same to me.
What can I do to change all of this?

The Oracle replies:

It's not surprising you expect something bad is going to happen because something bad did happen. That doesn't mean life will continue this way but I won't lie - bad things do happen and that's just part of life. I think you need to deal with the loss of your father. I touched on bereavement issues last week but sometimes things are expected to go back to normal when you feel as far from normal as seems possible. It may be that you haven't given yourself enough time to heal. Don't rush that process.
It's obvious you & your mum are going through a massive upheaval as well as grief so try to understand that your mum's actions are reactions to her loss. That said, if the violence is physical against you, that is not acceptable & it may be time to involve another family member - an aunt or grandparent. I'm afraid other than talking and offering support, you can't do much else for her but do try and pull together as a family. There will be times you all want to be alone and that's fine but as grief doesn't always bring people together - it can divide, you should try & speak to your mum or write her a letter to tell her how you're feeling.
You didn't mention when your dad died but it's quite normal to experience very negative feelings and moods for a very long time.
What I suggest is seeking out ways to deal with a) your grief and b) your anxieties. Whether you go to a counsellor, a group, a website or a book you need help and coping strategies could be the way forward for you.
You may not feel much like laughing or having fun but it's imperative that you go out and surround yourself with friends, doing things you love that bring joy. Please don't feel guilty about smiling when it comes. I'm sure your dad would want you to be happy. Though it may only come in small doses for a while, try and be a pleasure seeker whether it be in a book, music, a film, a hobby, art... You can remember your father in all of these things and talk about him (talk to him if it makes you feel better) to keep his memory alive. Take small steps each day to move away from your stuck place. Your mum is going through her own thing and one day it will become more manageable for you both but however long it takes, he will always be in your hearts and nobody can ever take that away from you. I wish you both peace.
Over to you.

First of all... sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose one you love and losing a parent is toughest of all. You don't say how long it's been since this happened. It is quite normal to experience a whole array of emotions after a death. Your feelings are normal, but your mother's aggression may be a cause for concern. You have taken a good first step in telling someone. Perhaps it is time to involve a counselor or a mental health practitioner to get much needed help. Anger after a death is a part of the grieving process and people grieve and mourn at their own pace. My concern is your safety both mentally and physically, this is making you anxious and you are already dealing with a loss. This is why it may be wise to consult someone who could talk to your Mom about her feelings and sort them out. I am sure once she deals with her emotions things will get better, this may take time. Be patient even though it's hard right now. Talk to her when she is calm and perhaps explain how you feel when she acts a certain way, it may help. I hope with time and some help you and your Mom can live a peaceful life together. Take care, Laurie.

It sounds like your life is really out of whack right now. If I may, I'd like to start out with my sincerest apologies. I suggest finding an activity that you enjoy, and that takes a lot of concentration and planning. A rigorous hobby. It will take your mind off the problems you face and give you something to look forward to. Amber.

Your question almost scares me: What YOU can do to change ALL of this. To change everything of such a complex situation is an unrealizable challenge for only one person.The loss of a family member always ruins your private world order. Sadness and feelings of helplessness can turn to aggressivity. There might be not a broken heart only, but also material or financial problems, so be patient with your mother.
Though some more information could help for a better piece of advice, only this: usually it takes a network to get out of this state soon. Are there relatives, friends to help you, a teacher or anybody you can talk to? Don’t hide at home, accept invitations, go out, together with your mother, but also each of you on your own. Probably your dad would not want to see you sad or frustrated all the time. We all know live goes on even though we have lost someone. You and your mother are allowed to smile and to have fun again, there’s no need for any bad conscience about that. Take time to keep the memory of your dad, but also live in the present and plan for the future. Slowly step by step things will change. If you change a feeling of being left to the feeling of being there for each other then both of you have done the best you can do. L.Q.

Try to forget this, I know that it isn’t easy, but you must try! And, your mom needs help too, talk to her and together you’ll overcome this; don’t think that you’re alone in this world, of course you have brilliant people around you, remember this, and your dad is taking care of you, where he is! (: With love, Thuane.

Please don't feel anxious and scared, just enjoy everything and things will get better. REMEMBER TO PRAY. I know what you feel, u just need something to enjoy. Just listen to Coldplay's songs!
Be a good person, just do something useful and I know your dad will proud!

Don't tackle this alone. You're isolated and this is a time when you should all be pulling together. Have a family meeting with as many people who were close to your dad and talk about your feelings, share you memories and let out some of the stuff that's being bottle up. That's why it's manifested itself in aggression and that's damaging. You are not alone nor should you be. You've lost your dad and your mum has lost her husband - she will be experiencing so much not just emotionally but her role in life has changed. Give her time but take time for you too. Alex.

Is there a teacher you can talk to? I think you need some intervention at home. Plus it sounds like therapy might be a good idea. Maybe you & your mum could go to for bereavement counselling together or separately. Reach out to your mum. I'm sure she will be there for you if you just talk to her. Don.

Thanks to all those who replied to this week’s question. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.