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PLEASE HELP - My parents are going to hate me
I just found out I failed my first year of medical school.
Even writing that sentence, I did it with a heavy feeling in my heart. I’m absolutely begging anyone to please hear me out because I desperately need advice.
First, I’ll need to give some context. I’m in my late teens (and considered quite young among my cohort), and my entire life, I have been extremely studious. For this, I must owe a lot of credit to my overbearing father. Ever since childhood, he has always pushed me to study and I’ve always listened. During my final year of high school, I was pushed beyond breaking point. It’s a long story, but over that year, I developed severe anxiety. It got to the point where I could barely eat, drink or leave the house. Even today, I struggle with leaving the house and am slowly going through exposure therapy (it has been a long healing process due to COVID restrictions).
I have struggled intensely, yet all this time, my father never knew. He still doesn’t know. It is hard to describe the type of person he is but he would never understand. He is extremely belittling towards people with mental health disorders. My mother knows, and supports me as much as she can whilst keeping it from my father.
We had all our classes online this year because of COVID restrictions, and I didn’t make a single friend in my new university cohort. The degree is the most difficult thing I have ever undertaken in my life - and my university makes this course notoriously difficult. One thing led to another, and despite my best efforts, I failed. Our results have not come out yet, but I have been informed that I have failed a threshold exam with no opportunity to remediate. I will have to repeat this entire year all over again. I really did not expect it.
I am so afraid. My mother will be disappointed and probably won’t speak to me for days. My father will go back to berating me all year. He might get physical. He might kick me out (I have no income and no family besides my parents in this country, so I would be screwed). I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to do after I inevitably let him know. Please, I’m absolutely begging someone to give me some advice here. My mind is going wild and I am considering every option. I no longer wish to exist and I really am holding on with every ounce of my being.
Repeating is going to be awful. Another year stuck on a campus which I am afraid to be in (my anxiety is so awful that I can barely go shopping - imagine me stuck in a room with many other students for hours). My father will hate me. He will unleash his anger on my mother. She will be crying from the way he treats her and it will be all my fault. I won’t have anyone. I don’t deserve anyone. My mother is such an angel and she doesn’t deserve someone as broken and awful as me. I love her so much, and she deserves the best. She says she’s proud of me, but I often wish she wouldn’t. I know I’m worthless, and everytime she says she’s proud of me, it reminds me of how she doesn’t know what it's like to have a child truly worth being proud of. And it’s all my fault.
And despite everything, I love my father. I love the father that I’ve gotten to know this year. The one that tells me how wonderful I am for being a future doctor, the one that smiles with pride when his friends ask about me, the one that buys me treats to reward me for being in medical school. I can’t believe I am going to lose him the moment I tell him I failed, and he will be replaced with the old version, the father that berates me all the time. I am going to miss him so much.
Sometimes, I really do feel alone in this world.
Thank you for sharing this here. We're so sorry to hear you're feeling this way. Please know that this community is here for you.
We're concerned about you and what your going through right now. We think that it is really important that you talk to someone about these thoughts and feelings, so please give the Beyond Blue helpline a ring directly on 1300 22 4636 to talk things through with the lovely counsellors. A few more options are KidsHelpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 44, and Headspace on 1800 650 890.
Hopefully we'll hear from the community at some point. In the meantime, we hope you're able to be kind to yourself, and to feel some pride in the bravery it took to post here today.
Welcome to the forum.
I'm not in a good position to advise you. I think we are from completely different backgrounds & perspectives. I read your posts, & I am saddened by so much pressure being put on you, so little support, & the effect all of this is having on you.
I do want to make it clear to you, you are not responsible for your father's expectations, his feelings, his behaviour towards you & your mum. That is all on him. Exactly as you are not to be blamed for COVID-19 restrictions, how the Uni didn't support you or other students; no, you are not to be blamed for anything or anyone not in your control.
I just cannot imagine how much more difficult your year could have been.
We know your father's dreams & expectations for you, but what are your own dreams, goals & plans for your own life?
There is so much more to life than fulfilling your father's ambitions ,& becoming a doctor. So many directions a life can take & still be a successful & admirable life.
I've got to stop for now, but I am looking forward to hearing from you again.
Thank you very much for your reply.
Honestly, being a doctor was always my own dream and it still is. I still plan to do whatever I can to get through medical school and fulfil it. I always have understood that failure is constantly a possibility, and it was something I had considered before pursuing this path. Personally, I don't feel like I have disappointed myself so long as I have tried my hardest.
Unfortunately, my biggest concern right now is the way my parents will react to the bad news, and what this may mean for me throughout the next year. Their reactions to everything and the way my dad treats me when he's disappointed is what causes me the greatest deal of stress, and if anything, it is only hindering my progress. But even knowing this, I can't help but continue to be affected by all this - even if I were to try and ignore it. If he kicks me out, I will truly be out of a place to go. If he chooses to constantly berate me, my mental health and confidence will only continue to plummet. Even accepting that my university's lack of support is part of what caused this whole predicament doesn't resolve the fact that it will likely continue to affect me in the future - if the university was this hopeless at providing us any form of support during a crisis such as COVID, I can't help but imagine how little support we get during normal circumstances.
I truly wish there were any steps I could take to preventing all these aforementioned things from becoming an obstacle, but I am at a loss. This is not something I feel comfortable talking to my parents about, seeing as they are essentially the issue, or any of my friends, which is why I am seeking help through this forum. Would you possibly have any advice in this situation? Looking forward to hearing back.
I love your user name because to me it means rose quartz which is a beautiful soft pink crystal that has a meaning of self love.
Have you thought about giving yourself some self love?
You are amazing wow …even though you have failed your first year of medical school I think you are amazing just to be doing this 😊 You can always try again and you will pass it eventually just keep trying…. You sound determined so I’m sure one day you will become an amazing doctor!
Im so sorry that your Dad behaves the way he does…. I understand that it is really difficult….. please know that’s a reflection of him and not you!
I understand you are finding it hard to talk to your parents about this that’s understandable, have you thought about writing them a letter? You could let them know how you have been feeling and how their expectations make you feel…. Maybe if they are aware of this they can work on changing their behaviour? Let them know you are not going to give up but you need them to be more understanding and supportive.
I understand you have severe anxiety, I understand this is incredibly hard to deal with…… I suffered with this aswell mine was OCD it was just horrible…… I couldn’t function at times when it was highly severe…. I seeked professional help and I’ve now recovered the severe anxiety is gone…. It would have been hard to study while going through this… I understand…
You aren’t responsible for the reactions of others…..including your parents.
Have you thought about speaking to a gp about the way your anxiety makes you feel and how it’s affecting your life?
You could do a mental health together this will allow you to see a psychologist who can give you many strategies for anxiety…. You can learn to manage your anxiety you really can you just need professional help to teach you the skills.
Im here if you have any questions
Everything will be ok…. Just slow down and breathe ❤️
Firstly from your posts, you really do have the world on your shoulders and it sounds like you are being so tough on yourself. I think the first thing you need to tell yourself is that you do deserve happiness and friends and everything that life has to offer. Your father is not your fault. If he is awful to your mother because of something that has happened to you, this is not your fault. His actions are solely his responsibility.
I went to uni, I didn’t do medicine and I failed a lot! And that wasn’t during Covid either so it happens to all of us. I finished over 10 years ago now and guess what? I am thriving and I am happy and I have a great career. I tell you this because you are not alone in failing something in life and while it’s difficult now it’s these events that turn into our biggest lessons.
Now, the biggest issue is how your father will react. It sounds like he is quite scary and that your low self esteem is most likely a product of how you have been treated. You said you don’t have any income, could you get a job? You currently struggle or can’t leave the house due to anxiety, I think the first step is getting yourself a mental health plan from your GP, Telehealth is still an option, and then finding yourself a professional that can help you. I speak about getting a job because this will open up so many things for you, independence, new friends and perhaps the ability to move out of home.
Lastly, is this something you even need to tell your parents? Could you repeat the year without them finding out? If this is something you can do and it would ease the burden while you sort through your anxiety and perhaps buys you time to get your mental health on track then it’s definitely worth considering!
Please seek outside help and please do not feel you don’t deserve the best in life.
Welcome and looks like you're getting some good support here.
OK so I used to be involved with medical students training in my career - in a support and supervisory position (but I'm not a doctor). I worked at a university and teaching hospital.
The university should have a counselling service and there should be a support /advisory person just for the medical faculty that you can go to for help and advice.
We had problems with students performing poorly who were pushed too hard by their parents! So you are definitely not alone in this.
You need to be sure medicine is what you truly want to study, and you also need to have the right attributes to perform the role well.
The university has to make sure you are up to the standard required to be safe to continue. They've decided on this occasion that you are not.
I know it's tough but it's for the good of everyone. We used to be concerned about students who really were better suited to a different field of study. However others had personal problems that just needed attending to so they could continue successfully. We used to get support for family and financial issues that were impacting students.
I really hope you go to an adviser and seek assistance about your performance and future studies. They want to help you.
You should discuss the parental pressure you are under as it's clearly distressing for you.
They can also get you assistance with your anxiety and isolation.
I did know a very good doctor who got through his entire anatomy course without ever actually attending, but I don't recommend this! It was because he was so shy and anxious!
I truly hope you get the support and advice you need and maybe your family will be prepared to take some advice to back off a bit!
You can't change the fail grade, but you can get help to ensure you succeed in the future. This is not the end of your career. You do need to take steps to ensure that you pass next year and you can if you get help now.
Please talk to people in the faculty. If you have studied at a hospital at all yet, they should have staff to assist you.
Good luck, I've seen students succeed with a bit of support and hard work! Don't give up at this stage if medicine is what you really want to do!
Just as an example - we had a bright student who was failing due to immense financial difficulties and parental pressure. We found him a cheaper rental and got him some advice about dealing with his family.
He went on to pass well after failing his surgery placement.
So do ask for advice and assistance - in his case he went from Distinction grades to failing which caused us to directly go to him and find out what was going on.
The staff will appreciate you trying to get help sooner rather than later. Good luck!
Thanks so much for reaching out.
Firstly doing first year medicine is hard but with covid and pressure from your parents you have had difficult time.
I agree with Hanna about contacting the counselling service.
also when I was at uni many years ago you could ask for extenuating circumstances on your result. If you have have evidence that the faculty need not supply enough support during the pandemic , they may review your result or offer you the chance to resubmit some work.