My family is broken because of me

My family is broken because of me

Dear Thelma,

I'm 12 years old and I don't know how to make my family go back to normal. My family is "broken", so I'm asking for your help.

This is because of something I did. One night, I was writing up a list to search for stuff online and my mother saw me.

She scolded me and said: "You are searching for games again. Stop looking for games!" I got angry and replied that I was just writing up a list to search online, and not playing games like she thought. But she wouldn't listen and told me to go to my room.

Then my father called out to me and asked what was the matter. I explained things to him and said that I didn't see what was wrong with writing up a list.

But he said: "Next time when it's your computer hour, ask your mother. I will not help you anymore."

So I said OK. Then I went to read the newspaper and my mum said that "I broke everything."

I muttered to myself: "Fine, everything is broken because of me, I break everything."

She heard me and said that she was not talking to me. And my father said: "If you want to quarrel again, let's separate and go our different ways! And next time, don't bother talking to me!"

Since that day, no one wants to talk to me anymore. I have been trying to communicate with them, but they don't hear me.

It feels like I am dying. I'm really confused as I don't know which are the "teams" in this house. I don't know how to survive in the outside world. Please help me and my family. - Jamie

Dear Jamie,

The mental torment you are experiencing is understandable. It is a huge burden to bear for a 12-year-old, especially when it seems that you are the cause of a family break-up.

While the events you highlighted seem to indicate that your Internet search was the start of it all, a close inspection of details says otherwise. Honestly, I doubt that you are the reason for your parents' anger and subsequent behaviour.

Understandably, from your perspective, it was the whole issue of you using the Internet. Thus, it seems like it's your fault that everybody is now not talking to each other.

But that the incident may have been a small tip that led to an out of control domino effect which really had very little to do with you.

I do not mean to make light of what has happened in your family. But, really, the Internet incident is a minor one.

Even if your parents were upset with you about it, I doubt that it warrants this level of reaction. Quite probably, there was something else that was already amiss with your parents and their relationship.

Instead of addressing that though, it feels like they are blaming you and what happened as the reason for their anger.

Just reflect on what they said. Your father was probably responding to your mother, and not you when he asked: "Do you want to quarrel again?" Think about it. Does it make sense to you that your father would say this to you?

They may have been having a series of arguments prior to this incident which was not resolved. The bottom line is that it is not your fault.

You cannot be blamed for what has happened between your parents, nor their reaction towards you.

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