Need advice on accessing support
I am feeling overwhelmed and unsure about where to access some support.
I have recently learnt that my teenage daughter has been self-harming and researching ways to die by suicide. My problem is that it is causing a huge amount of stress in my marriage as my husband thinks she is lazy and making it up because she doesn't want to go to school. He is not open to discussion on mental health issues so I have always managed this on my own (she is currently seeing a counsellor and is making some positive progress). We have a lot of other underlying problems but for me this feels like a deal-breaker. We have been fighting a lot lately and I really want to end my marriage but am terrified of traumatising my daughter further because she already feels like this is all her fault.
He is also very controlling and I need to find the right person who will be able to see through that.
You might also like to read through some of the resources on our website, including the one's listed here:
- How to help your teenager transition back to on-site learning
- Parents Guide to Self-harming
- Healthy Families Age 13+
Please check in and let us know how you are whenever you feel up to it.
I am so sorry to hear what you have been going through. I can only imagine what it is like being in your situation trying to look out for both your daughter and yourself. It's understandable that you are overwhelmed and it's great that you have reached out in this forum.
My struggles with mental health started in high school and my dad reacted very similarly to your husband. I'm now 7 years out of high school and he only recently acknowledged that I have experienced issues with mental health and that he wished he listened to me back in school. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for older men to connect to that empathetic side which makes it very difficult to get through to them.
After my experience, my relationship with my dad is very average. He's there, but not emotionally available to me and I talk about it a lot with my psychologist. To help you figure out the right path for your situation, I would definitely recommend calling the Beyond Blue phone line or seeing a GP for a referral to a psychologist. It has helped me so much and if you need any further support, they will certainly be able to assist.
I wish you all the best.
Hello Sarah, and a warm welcome to the forums.
If unfortunately, your daughter has been researching what you have told us, may stem from the reaction she is receiving from her dad, although I'm not qualified to say, but when a child feels as though one parent is not supporting them, then they behave in a way you might not have seen before.
If however, you do separate and divorce then she may feel released from any criticism her father is giving her and that could be the way for her to open up more to you and her counsellor.
None of this is her fault and support you wholeheartedly.
Thank you so much for your reply. I'm sorry you have also been through this. I also don't have a connected relationship with my father and I think this is probably the biggest reason that I really wanted my daughter's experience to be different. But I think I am slowly realising that I need to accept things for what they are and not how I want them to be.
I'm glad you continue to find support for your mental health. You sound like a strong young woman!
Take care x
I had not considered things from this perspective so thank you - it makes a lot of sense! I think the two issues are probably more interconnected than I realise.
I have also been parenting from my heart in the last few months (which creates more issues because he thinks I am doing the wrong thing letting her take time off school and am being a bad mother) but I think I definitely need some professional help.
With your husband not wanting to confront the issue, perhaps its something you can try and help your daughter understand it & move beyond it. It's often hard to talk to teens about what's going on. A tv show for teens explored the themes of self-harm, it might be something you could watch with her:
You're doing a great job thinking of her wellbeing. Hope it moves into an easy place for you both.
I am so sorry to read you and your daughter are going through this. I can't imagine how stressful it must be.
I just wanted to offer my thoughts and support. I don't have a teenage daughter, but I do have a young son who is showing signs of frustration that I have just come to realise could be stemming from issues he is seeing between me and his Dad. I too live in a household where one parent is controlling (and it's not me!) and I too am being told I'm babying him too much and not teaching him to be tough among other things. He's 6! I've realised he is craving hugs and love because his behaviour returns to calm and normal after we've sat down and had little chats together and a hug.
Your daughter might also be feeling the pressure of your relationship dynamic. If you did decide to safely separate, you should definitely reassure your daughter it's for the best and that you can both now be happy together. Maybe try and share a bit about what you've been feeling and she may open up about issues she is having in relation to her dad. Can you take her for a coffee and cake afternoon tea one day and just have a mum and daughter chat. No holds barred and no repercussions. Just open honest chat with someone she can trust.
I really hope you can both get through this together and I do hope your husband comes around, but sometimes it's too hard to admit there is a problem or it seems a sign of weakness or failure.
Believe me, it's not and you are a very strong woman.
Take care x