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Ask a Therapist

3 months 3 weeks ago
Author: Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a young girl in Kazakhstan: I have a lot of trust issues with my dad right now. For the past two years my parents have been fighting. Sometimes it’s petty things like the laundry, and other times it’s about my mom’s work, or me, or something.

Then near the beginning of this school year I found out he had depression and kept on switching medications. This sometimes even happened without consulting a doctor.

However about 2-3 months ago I had a big fight with my dad and for the first time he hurt me. Ever since then I’ve been having a hard time trusting him again. I used love spending time with him but now everything is tense and I feel like I can’t be near him without someone else.

Should I consult someone face to face? Does being overseas affect it? How should I talk to my dad?

I’m so sorry your family is in such turmoil right now. It’s very, very difficult for any kid to be living in a situation like this. It’s hard on you, I know, to feel like there is nothing you can do to fix it. But the best thing you can do is to focus on your own friends and your schooling while your parents figure out whatever they are trying to figure out. Their fight has nothing to do with you.

As for your relationship with your dad: You didn’t say if your father hurt your feelings or physically hurt you. Hurt feelings often happen in any relationship and can be worked on. But no kid deserves to be hit, not matter how depressed the adult is. If that is the case, you do have to talk to your mom or some other adult you trust (like maybe a grandparent or teacher) about what happened so you can be kept safe.

Your father is depressed. If the issue is hurt feelings, I suspect he feels as bad as you do about the change in your relationship with him. If you do feel safe, by all means talk with him about what happened and how it has made you feel. See if the two of you can find a way to move on.

I hope you can talk to your parents about how their fights are affecting you. They may be able to do a better job of shielding you from their issues. If not, a counselor might be a helpful support for you. Unfortunately, I have no information about what kind of help is available to teens in your country. I hope someone at school can give you that information.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie